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Cornell University Library 
PR 9619.3.P29M2 1896 

The man from Snowy River and other verse 



3 1924 009 183 298 




The original of tliis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

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the United States on the use of the text. 



http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924009183298 



THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER 

'■I 

AND OTHER VERSES 



THE MAN FROM 

SNOWY RIVER 

AND OTHER VERSES 



BY 

A. B. PATERSON 



London 

Macmillan and Co., Ltd. 

Sydney: Angus & Robertson 
1896 



A. ^^•i5'fc*6 



Australian Editions — 

First edition, October i6, 1895 ; Second edition, Octoter 26, 1895 ; 

Third edition, November, 1895 ; Fourth edition, January, i8g6. 



GLASGOW : PRINTED AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS BY 
ROBERT MACLEHOSE AND CO. 



PKEFACE. 

It is not so easy to write ballads descriptive of the 
bicsMand of Australia as on light consideration would 
appear. Reasonably good verse on the subject has been 
supplied in sufficient quantity. But the maker of folk- 
songs for our newborn nation requires a somewhat rare 
combination of gifts and experiences. Dowered with the 
poet's heart, he must yet have passed his ' wander-jahre ' 
amid the stem solitude of the Austral waste — must have 
ridden the race in the back-block township, guided the 
reckless stock-horse adown the mountain spur, and 
followed the night-long moving, spectral-seeming herd ' in 
the droving days.' Amid such scarce congenial surround- 
ings conies oft that finer sense which renders visible bright 
gleams of humour, pathos, and romance, which, like 
undiscovered gold, await the fortunate adventurer. That 
the author has touched this treasure-trove, not less 
delicately than distinctly, no true Australian will deny. 
In my opinion this collection comprises the best bush 
ballads written since the death of Lindsay Gordon. 

ROLF BOLDREWOOD. 



A nvimher of these verses are now published for the first 
time, most of the others were written for and appeared in 
"The Bidletin" (Sydney, N.8.W.), and are therefore 
already widely known to readers in Australasia. 

A. B. PATERSON. 



PRELUDE. 

I have gathered these stories afar, 

In the wind and the rain, 

In the land where the cattle camps are, 

On the edge of the plain. 

On the overland routes of the west, 

When the watches were long, 

I have fashioned in earnest and jest 

These fragments of song. 

They are just the rude stories one hears 

In sadness and mirth, 

The records of wandering years, 

And scant is their worth 

Though their merits indeed are hut slight, 

I shall not repine. 

If they give you one moment's delight, 

Old comrades of mine. 



CONTENTS 

PAOE 

INTRODUCTORY VERSE 

I have gathered these stories ajar, . . ix 

THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER 

There was movement at the station, for 3 

the word had passed around . . i 

OLD PARDON, THE SON OE REPRIEVE 

You never heard tell of the story ? . . 10 

CLANCY OE THE OVERFLOW 

I had written him a letter which I had, 

for want of better, .... 20 

CONROY'S GAP 

This was the way of it, don't you know — 23 

OUR NEW HORSE 

The boys had come back from the races . 31 



xii CONTENTS 

FAOB 

AN IDYLL OF DANDALOO 

On Western plains, where shade is not, . 38 

THE GEEBFNG POLO CLUB 

It was somewhere up the country, in a 

land of rock and scrub — ... 43 

THE TRAVELLING POST OFFICE 

The roving breezes come and go, the reed 

beds sweep and sway, ... 47 

SALTBUSH BILL 

Now this is the law of the Overland that 

aU in the West obey. ... 50 

A MOUNTAIN STATION 

I bought a run a while ago, ... 56 

BEEN THERE BEFORE 

There came a stranger to Walgett town . 59 

THE MAN WHO WAS AWAY 

The widow sought the lawyer's room with 

children three in tow . . . 61 

THE MAN FROM IRONBARK 

It was the man from Ironbark who struck 

the Sydney town, . . . , 64 



CONTENTS xiii 

FAOB 

THE OPEN STEEPLECHASE 

I had ridden over hurdles up the country 

once or twice, . . . . . 69 

THE AMATEUR RIDER 

Rvm, going to ride for us ! Him — with the 

pants and the eyeglass and all . . 75 

ON KILEY'S RUN 

The roving breezes come and go . . 80 

FRYINGPAN'S THEOLOGY 

Scene : On Monaro. . . . . 86 

THE TWO DEVINES 

It was shearing-time at the Myall Lake, . 88 

IN THE DROVING DAYS 

' Only a pound,' said the auctioneer, , 91 

LOST 

' He ought to be home,' said the old man, 

without there's something amiss. . 96 

OVER THE RANGE 

Little bush maiden, wondering-eyed, 100 



xiv CONTENTS 

FASK 

ONLY A JOCKEY 

Out in the grey cheerless chill of the 

morning light, ..... 102 

HOW McGINNIS WENT MISSING 

Let us cease our idle chatter, . . . 105 

A VOICE FROM THE TOWN 

I thought, in the days of the droving, . 107 

A BUNCH OF ROSES 

Roses ruddy and roses white, . . . Ill 

BLACK SWANS 

As I lie at rest on a patch of clover . 113 

THE ALL RIGHT 'UN 

He came from ' further out,' . . . 117 

THE BOSS OF THE ADMIRAL LYNCH 
Did you ever hear tell of Chili? I was 

readin' the other day . . . .,120 

A BUSHMAN'S SONG 

I'm travelling down the Castlereagh, and 

I'm a station hand, . . . .125 

HOW GILBERT DIED 

There's never a stone at the sleeper's head, 129 



CONTENTS XV 

PAGE 

THE PLYING GANG 

I served my time, in the days gone by, . 134 

SHEARING AT CASTLEREAGH 

The bell is set aringing, and the engine 
gives a toot, ..... 136 

THE WIND'S MESSAGE 

There came a whisper down the Bland 
between the dawn and dark, . . 139 

JOHNSON'S ANTIDOTE 

Down along the Snakebite River, where 

the overlanders camp, . . .142 

AMBITION AND ART 

I am the maid of the lustrous eyes . . 149 

THE DAYLIGHT IS DYING 

The daylight is dying . . . .153 

IN DEFENCE OP THE BUSH 

So you're back from up the coxmtry. 

Mister Townsman, where you went, . 156 

LAST WEEK 

Oh, the new-chum went t© the back block 

run, ...,,.. 160 



xvi CONTENTS 

PAGE 

THOSE NAMES 

The shearers sat in the firelight, hearty 

and hale and strong, . . . .162 

A BUSH CHRISTENING 

On the outer Barcoo where the churches 

are few, ...... 165 

HOW THE FAYOURITE BEAT US 

'Aye,' said the boozer, 'I teU you it's 

true, sir, ...... 168 

THE GREAT CALAMITY 

MacFierce'un came to Whiskeyhurst . 171 

COME-BY-CHANCE 

As I pondered very weary o'er a volume 

long and dreary — .... 174 

UNDER THE SHADOW OF KILEY'S HILL 

This is the place where they aU were bred; 177 

JIM CAREW 

Born of a thoroughbred English race, . 179 

THE SWAGMAN'S REST 

We buried old Bob where the bloodwoods 

wave .,.,... 182 



THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER 
AND OTHER VERSES 



THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER 

Thkee was movement at the station, for the word had 

passed around 
That the colt from old Regret had got away, 
And had joined the wUd bush horses — ^he was worth 

a thousand pound. 
So all the cracks had gathered to the fray. 
All the tried and noted riders from the stations near 

and far 
Had mustered at the homestead overnight, 
For the bushmen love hard riding where the wild 

bush horses are, 
And the stock-horse snuffs the battle with delight. 

There was Harrison, who made his pile when 

Pardon won the cup. 
The old man with his hair as white as snow ; 
But few could ride beside him when his blood was 

fairly up — ■ 



4 . THE MAN FROM 

He would go wherever horse and man could go. 

And Clancy of the Overflow came down to lend a 
hand, 

No better horseman ever held the reins ; 

For never horse could throw him while the saddle- 
girths would stand, 

He learnt to ride while droving on the plains. 

And one was there, a stripling on a small and weedy 
beast. 

He was something like a racehorse undersized. 

With a touch of Timor pony — three parts thorough- 
bred at least — 

And such as are by mountain horsemen prized. 

He was hard and tough and wiry — just the sort that 
won't say die — 

There was courage in his quick impatient tread ; 

And he bore the badge of gameness in his bright and 
fiery eye. 

And the proud and lofty carriage of his head. 

But still so slight and weedy, one would doubt his 

power to stay, 
And the old man said, ' That horse will never do 



SNOWY RIVER 5 

' For a long and tiring gallop — ^lad, you'd better stop 

away, 
' Those hills are far too rough for such as you.' 
So he waited sad and wistful — only Clancy stood his 

friend — 
' I think we ought to let him come,' he said ; 
' I warrant he'll be with us when he's wanted at the 

end, 
' For both his horse and he are mountain bred.' 

' He hails from Snowy River, up by Kosciusko's side, 

' Where the hills are twice as steep and twice as rough, 

' Where a horse's hoofs strike firelight from the flint 
stones every stride, 

' The man that holds his own is good enough. 

' And the Snowy River riders on the mountains make 
their home, 

' Where the river runs those giant hiUs between ; 

' I have seen full many horsemen since I first com- 
menced to roam, 

' But nowhere yet such horsemen have I seen.' 

So he went — they found the horses by the big mimosa 

clump — 
They raced away towards the mountain's brow, 



6 THE MAN FROM 

And the old man gave his orders, ' Boys, go at them 

from the jump, 
' No use to try for fancy riding now. 
« And, Clancy, you must wheel them, try and wheel 

them to the right. 
' Ride boldly, lad, and never fear the spiQs, 
' For never yet was rider that coidd keep the mob in 

sight, 
' If once they gain the shelter of those hiUs.' 

So Clancy rode to wheel them — ^he was racing on the 

wing 
Where the best and boldest riders take their place. 
And he raced his stock-horse past them, and he made 

the ranges ring 
With the stockwhip, as he met them face to face. 
Then they halted for a moment, while he swimg the 

dreaded lash. 
But they saw their well-loved mountain full in view. 
And they charged beneath the stockwhip with a 

sharp and sudden dash, 
And oflf into the moimtain scrub they flew. 

Then fast the horsemen followed, where the gorges 
deep and black 



SNOWY RIVER 7 

Resounded to the thunder of their tread, 

And the stockwhips woke the echoes, and they fiercely 

answered back 
From cliffs and crags that beetled overhead. 
And upward, ever upward, the wild horses held their 

way. 
Where mountain ash and kurrajong grew wide ; 
And the old man muttered fiercely, ' We may bid the 

mob good day, 
' No man can hold them down the other side.' 



When they reached the mountain's summit, even 

Clancy took a pull. 
It well might make the boldest hold their breath, 
The wild hop scrub grew thickly, and the hidden 

ground was full 
Of wombat holes, and any slip was death. 
But the man from Snowy River let the pony have his 

head, 
And he swung his stockwhip round and gave a cheer. 
And he raced him down the mountain like a torrent 

down its bed. 
While the others stood and watched in very fear. 



8 THE MAN FROM 

He sent the flint stones flying, but the pony kept his 

feet, 
He cleared the fallen timber in his stride, 
And the man from Snowy Eiver never shifted in his 

seat- 
It was grand to see that mountain horseman ride. 
Through the stringy barks and saplings, on the rough 

and broken ground, 
Down the hillside at a racing pace he went j 
And he never drew the bridle tUl he landed safe and 

sound, 
At the bottom of that terrible descent. 

He was right among the horses as they climbed the 
further hiU, 

And the watchers on the mountain standing mute, 

Saw him ply the stockwhip fiercely, he was right 
among them stUl, 

As he raced across the clearing in pursuit. 

Then they lost him for a moment, where two mount- 
ain gullies met 

In the ranges, but a final glimpse reveals 

On a dim and distant hillside the wild horses racing 

yet, 

With the man from Snowy River at their heels. 



SNOWY RIVER 9 

And he ran them single-handed till their sides were 

white with foam. 
He followed like a bloodhound on their track, 
Till they halted cowed and beaten, then he turned 

their heads for home, 
And alone and unassisted brought them back. 
But his hardy mountain pony he could scarcely raise 

a trot, 
He was blood from hip to shoulder from the spur ; 
But his pluck was still undaunted, and his courage 

fiery hot, 
For never yet was mountain horse a cur. 

And down by Kosciusko, where the pine-clad ridges 

raise 
Their torn and rugged battlements on high. 
Where the air is clear as crystal, and the white 

stars fairly blaze 
At naidnight in the cold and frosty sky, 
And where around the Overflow the reedbeds sweep 

and sway 
To the breezes, and the rolling plains are wide. 
The man from Snowy River is a household word 

to-day. 
And the stockmen tell the story of his ride. 



OLD PARDON THE SON OF REPRIEVE. 

You never heard tell of the story ? 

Well, now, I can hardly believe ! 
Never heard of the honour and glory 

Of Pardon, the son of Reprieve ? 
But maybe you're only a Johnnie 

And don't know a horse from a hoe ? 
Well, well, don't get angry, my sonny, 

But, really, a young 'un should know. 

They bred him out back on the 'Never,' 

His mother was Mameluke breed. 
To the front — and then stay there — -was ever 

The root of the Mameluke creed. 
He seemed to inherit their wiry 

Strong frames — and their pluck to receive — 
As hard as a flint and as fiery 

Was Pardon, the son of Reprieve. 

10 



OLD PAEDON THE SON OF REPRIEVE 11 

We ran him at many a meeting 

At crossing and gully and town, 
And nothing could give him a beating — 

At least when our money was down. 
For weight wouldn't stop him, nor distance, 

Nor odds, though the others were fast, 
He'd race with a dogged persistence. 

And wear them all down at the last. 

At the Turon the Yattendon filly 

Led by lengths at the mile-and-a-half, 
And we all began to look silly. 

While her crowd were starting to laugh ; 
But the old horse came faster and faster, 

His pluck told its tale, and his strength. 
He gained on her, caught her, and passed her, 

And won it, hands-down, by a length. 

And then we swooped down on Menindie 

To run for the President's Cup — 
Oh ! that's a sweet township — a shindy 

To them is board, lodging, and sup. 
Eye-openers they are, and their system 

Is never to suffer defeat ; 



12 OLD PARDON 

It's ' win, tie, or wrangle ' — to best 'em 
You must lose 'em, or else it's ' dead heat.' 

We strolled down the township and found 'em 

At drinking and gaming and play ; 
If sorrows they had, why they drowned 'em. 

And betting was soon under way. 
Their horses were good 'uns and fit 'uns. 

There was plenty of cash in the town ; 
They backed their own horses like Britons, 

And, Lord ! how we rattled it down ! 

With gladness we thought of the morrow. 

We counted our wagers with glee, 
A simile homely to borrow — 

' There was plenty of milk in our tea.' 
You see we were green ; and we never 

Had even a thought of foul play. 
Though we well might have known that the clever 

Division would ' put us away.' 

Experience ' docet,' they tell us. 

At least so I've frequently heard. 
But, ' dosing ' or ' stuffing,' those fellows 

Were up to each move on the board ; 



THE SON OP REPRIEVE 13 

They got to his stall — it is sinful 

To think what such villains would do — 

And they gave him a regular skinful 
Of barley — ^green barley — ^to chew. 



He munched it all night, and we found him 

Next morning as full as a hog — 
The girths wouldn't nearly meet round him ; 

He looked like an overfed frog. 
We saw we were done Kke a dinner — 

The odds were a thousand to one 
Against Pardon turning up winner, 

'Twas cruel to ask him to run. 



We got to the course with our troubles, 

A crestfallen couple were we ; 
And we heard the ' books ' calling the doubles — 

A roar like the surf of the sea ; 
And over the tumult and louder 

Kang 'Any price Pardon, I lay!' 
Says Jimmy, ' The children of Judah 

' Are out on the warpath to-day.' 



14 OLD PARDON 

Three miles in three heats : — Ah, my sonny 

The horses in those days were stout, 
They had to run well to win money ; 

I don't see such horses about. 
Your six-furlong vermin that scamper 

Half-a-mile with their feather-weight up ; 
They wouldn't earn much of their damper 

In a race like the President's Cup. 

The first heat was soon set a-going ; 

The Dancer went off to the front ; 
The Don on his quarters was showing, 

With Pardon right out of the hunt. 
He rolled and he weltered and wallowed — 

You'd kick your hat faster, I'U. bet ; 
They finished all bunched, and he followed 

All lathered and dripping with sweat. 

But troubles came thicker upon us, 
Por while we were rubbing him dry 

The stewards came over to warn us : 
' We hear you are running a bye ! 

' If Pardon don't spiel like tarnation 
' And win the next heat — if he can — 



THE SON OF REPRIEVE 15 

' He'll earn a disqualification ; 

' Just think over that, now, my man !' 

Our money all gone and our credit, 

Our horse couldn't gaUop a yard ; 
And then people thought that we did it ! 

It really was terribly hard. 
"We were objects of mirth and derision 

To folk in the lawn and the stand. 
And the yells of the clever division 

Of ' Any price, Pardon !' were grand. 

We still had a chance for the money. 

Two heats stiU remained to be run ; 
If both fell to us — why, my sonny, 

The clever division were done. 
And Pardon was better, we reckoned, 

His sickness was passing away. 
So he went to the post for the second 

And principal heat of the day. 

They're off and away with a rattle, 

lake dogs from the leashes let slip. 
And right at the back of the battle 

He followed them under the whip. 



16 OLD PARDON 

They gained ten good lengths on him quickly. 
He dropped right away from the pack ; 

I tell you it made me feel sickly 
To see the blue jacket fall back. 

Our very last hope had departed — 

We thought the old fellow was done, 
When all of a sudden he started 

To go like a shot from a gun. 
His chances seemed slight to embolden 

Our hearts ; but, with teeth firmly set, 
We thought, ' Now or never ! The old 'un 

' May reckon with some of 'em yet.' 

Then loud rose the war-cry for Pardon j 

He swept like the wind down the dip. 
And over the rise by the garden, 

The jockey was done with the whip j 
The field were at sixes and sevens — 

The pace at the first had been fast— 
And hope seemed to drop from the heavens, 

For Pardon was coming at last. 

And how he did come ! It was splendid ; 
He gained on them yards every bound, 



THE SON OF REPRIEVE 17 

Stretching out like a greyhound extended, 
His girth laid right down on the ground. 

A shimmer of silk in the cedars 
As into the running they wheeled, 

And out flashed the whips on the leaders. 
For Pardon had collared the field. 



Then right through the ruck he came sailing — 

I knew that the battle was won — 
The son of Haphazard was failing, 

The Yattendon filly was done ; 
He cut down the Don and the Dancer, 

He raced clean away from the mare — 
He's in front ! Catch him now if you can, sir ! 

And up went my hat in the air ! 

Then loud from the lawn and the garden 

Rose offers of ' Ten to one on !' 
' Who'll bet on the field ? I back Pardon !' 

No use ; all the money was gone. 
He came for the third heat light-hearted, 

A-jumping and dancing about j 
The others were done ere they started 

Crestfallen, and tired, and worn out. 



18 OLD PARDON 

He won it, and ran it much faster 

Than even the first, I believe 
Oh, he was the daddy, the master. 

Was Pardon, the son of Reprieve. 
He showed 'em the method to travel— 

The boy sat as stiU as a stone — 
They never could see him for gravel ; 

He came in hard-held, and alone. 



But he's old — and his eyes are grown hollow ; 

like me, with my thatch of the snow ; 
When he dies, then I hope I may follow, 

And go where the racehorses go, 
I doa't want no harping nor singing — 

Such things with my style don't agree ; 
Where the hoofs of the horses are ringing 

There's music sufficient for me. 

And surely the thoroughbred horses 

Will rise up again and begin 
Fresh races on far-away courses, 

And p'raps they might let me sHp in. 



THE SON OF REPRIEVE 19 

It would look rather well the race-card on 
'Mongst Cherubs and Seraphs and things, 

' Angel Harrison's black gelding Pardon, 
' Blue halo, white body and wings.' 

And if they have racing hereafter, 

(And who is to say they will not !) 
When the cheers and the shouting and laughter 

Proclaim that the battle grows hot ; 
As they come down the racecourse a-steering, 

He'U rush to the front, I believe ; 
And you'U hear the great multitude cheering 

For Pardon, the son of Reprieve. 



CLANCY OF THE OVERFLOW 

I HAD written him a letter which I had, for want of 
better 
Knowledge, sent to where I met bim down the 
Lachlan, years ago, 
He was shearing when I knew him, so I sent the 
letter to him, 
Just ' on spec,' addressed as foUows, ' Clancy, .of 
The Overflow.' 

And an answer came directed in a writing unex- 
pected, 
(And I think the same was written with a 
thumb-nail dipped in tar) 
'Twas his shearing mate who wrote it, and verbatim 
I wiU. quote it : 
' Clancy's gone to Queensland droving, and we 
don't know where he are.' 



CLANCY OF THE OVERFLOW 21 

In my wild erratic fancy visions come to me of Clancy 
Gone a-droving ' down the Cooper ' where the 
Western drovers go ; 
As the stock are slowly stringing, Clancy rides be- 
hind them singing, 
For the drover's life has pleasures that the towns- 
folk never know. 

And the bush hath friends to meet him, and their 
kindly voices greet him 
In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its 
bars. 
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains 
extended. 
And at night the wond'rous glory of the everlasting 
stars. 



I am sitting in my diagy little office, where a stingy 

Ray of sunlight struggles feebly down between the 

houses tall, 

And the fcetid air and gritty of the dusty, dirty city 

Through the open window floating, spreads its 

foulness over aU. 



22 CLANCY OF THE OVTERFLOW 

And in place of lowing cattle, I can hear the fiendish 
rattle 
Of the tramways and the 'buses making hurry 
down the street, 
And the language uninviting of the gutter children 
fighting, 
Glomes fitfully and faintly through the ceaseless 
tramp of feet. 

And the hurrying people daunt me, and their pallid 
faces haunt me 
As they shoulder one another in their rush and 
nervous haste. 
With their eager eyes and greedy, and their stunted 
forms and weedy. 
For townsfolk have no time to grow, they have no 
time to waste. 

And I somehow rather fancy that I'd like to change 
with Clancy, 
Like to take a turn at droving where the seasons 
come and go. 
While he faced the round eternal of the cash-book 
and the journal — 
But I doubt he'd suit the office, Clancy, of ' The 
Overflow.' 



CONROY'S GAP. 

This was the way of it, don't you know — 

Ryan was ' wanted ' for stealing sheep, 
And never a trooper, high or low, 

Could find him — catch a weasel asleep ! 
Till Trooper Scott, from the Stockman's Ford — 

A bushman, too, as I've heard them tell — 
Chanced to find him drunk as a lord 

Round at the Shadow of Death Hotel. 

D' you know the place ? It's a wayside inn, 

A low grog-shanty — a bushman trap, 
Hiding away in its shame and sin 

Under the shelter of Conroy's Gap — 
Under the shade of that frowning range. 

The roughest crowd that ever drew breath — 
Thieves and rowdies, uncouth and strange, 

"Were mustered round at the Shadow of Death. 

23 



24 CONROY'S GAP 

The^trooper knew that his man would sUde 

Like a dingo pup, if he saw the chance ; 
And with half a start on the mountain side 

Ryan would lead him a merry dance. 
Drunk as he was when the trooper came, 

To him that did not matter a rap — 
Drunk or sober, he was the same, 

The boldest rider in Conroy's Gap. 



' I want you, Ryan,' the trooper said, 

' And listen to me, if you dare resist, 
' So help me heaven, I'll shoot you dead ! ' 

He snapped the steel on his prisoner's wrist, 
And Ryan, hearing the handcuffe cHck, 

Recovered his wits as they turned to go, 
For fright will sober a man as quick 

As all the drugs that the doctors know. 



There was a girl in that rough bar 
Went by the name of Kate Carew. 

Quiet and shy as the bush girls are, 
But ready-witted and plucky, too. 



CONROY'S GAP 25 

She loved this Ryan, or so they say, 

And passing byj while her eyes were dim 

With tears, she said in a careless way, 

' The Swagman's round in the stable, Jim.' 



Spoken too low for the trooper's ear, 

Why should she care i£ he heard or not 1 
Plenty of swagmen far and near. 

And yet to Ryan it meant a lot. 
That was the name of the grandest horse 

In all the district from east to west 
In every show ring, on every course 

They always counted the Swagman best. 



He was a wonder, a raking bay — 

One of the grand old Snowdon strain — 
One of the sort that could race and stay 

With his mighty Hmbs and his length of rein. 
Bom and bred on the mountain side, 

He could race through scrub like a kangaroo. 
The girl herself on his back might ride, 

And the Swagman would carry her safely through. 



26 CONROY'S GAP 

He would travel gaily from daylight's flush 

Till after the stars hung out their lamps, 
There was never his like in the open bush, 

And never his match on the cattle-camps. 
For faster horses might well be found 

On racing tracks, or a plain's extent. 
But few, if any, on broken ground 

Could see the way that the Swagman went. 



When this girl's father, old Jim Carew, 

Was droving out on the Castlereagh 
With Conroy's cattle, a wire came through 

To say that his wife couldn't live the day. 
And he was a hundred mUes from home. 

As flies the crow, with never a track. 
Through plains as pathless as ocean's foam. 

He mounted straight on the Swagman's back. 



He left the camp by the sundown light, 
And the settlers out on the Marthaguy 

Awoke and heard, in the dead of night, 
A single horseman hurrying by. 



CONROY'S GAP 27 



He crossed the Bogan at Dandaloo, 
And many a mile of the silent plain 

That lonely rider behind him threw 
Before they settled to sleep again. 



He rode all night and he steered his course 

By the shining stars with a bushman's skill, 
And every time that he pressed his horse 

The Swagman answered him gamely stiU. 
He neared his home as the east was bright, 

The doctor met him outside the town : 
' Carew ! How far did you come last night ? ' 

• A hundred miles since the sun went down.* 



And his wife got round, and an oath he passed. 

So long as he or one of his breed / 

Could raise a coin, though it took their last 

The Swagman never should want a feed. 
And Kate Carew, when her father died, 

She kept the horse and she kept' him well : 
The pride of the district far and wide. 

He lived ia style at the bush hotel. 



28 CONROY'S GAP 

Such was the Swagman ; and Ryan knew 

Nothing about could pace the crack ; 
Little he'd care for the man in blue 

If once he got on the Swagman's back. 
But how to do it ? A word let fall 

Gave hiTti the hint as the girl passed by ; 
Nothing but ' Swagman — stable-waU ; 

' Go to the stable and mind your eye.' 



He caught her meaning, and quickly turned 

To the trooper : ' Reckon you'll gain a stripe 
' By arresting me, and it's easily earned ; 

' Let's go to the stable and get my pipe, 
' The Swagman has it.' So off they went. 

And soon as ever they turned their backs 
The girl slipped down, on some errand bent 

Behind the stable, and seized an axe. 



The trooper stood at the stable door 

While Ryan went in quite cool and slow. 

And then (the trick had been played before) 
The girl outside gave the wall a blow. 



CONROY'S GAP 29 

Three slabs fell out of the stable wall — 
'Twas done 'fore ever the trooper knew — 

And Ryan, as soon as he saw them fall, 

Mounted the Swagman and rushed him through. 



The trooper heard the hoof-beats ring 

In the stable yard, and he slammed the gate, 
But the Swagman rose with a mighty spring 

At the fence, and the trooper fired too late. 
As they raced away and his shots flew wide 

And Ryan no longer need care a rap. 
For never a horse that was lapped in hide 

Could catch the Swagman in Conroy's Gap. 



And that's the story. You want to know 

If Ryan came back to his Kate Car^w ; 
Of course he should have, as stories go, 

But the worst of it is, this story's true : 
And in real life it's a certain rule. 

Whatever poets and authors say 
Of high-toned robbers and all their school. 

These horsethief fellows aren't built that way. 



80 CONROYS GAP 

Come back ! Don't hope it — the slinking hound, 

He sloped across to the Queensland side, 
And sold the Swagman for fifty pound. 

And stole the money, and more beside. 
And took to drink, and by some good chance 

Was killed — ^thrown out of a stolen trap. 
And that was the end of this small romance. 

The end of the story of Conroy's Gap. 



S3 



OUR NEW HORSE 

The boys had come back from the races 
All silent and down on their luck ; 
They'd backed 'em, straight out and for places, 
But never a winner they struck. 
They lost their good money on Slogan, 
And fell most uncommonly flat, 
When Partner, the pride of the Bogan, 
Was beaten by Aristocrat. 

And one said, ' I move that instanter 
' We sell out our horses and quit, 
' The brutes ought to win in a canter, 
' Such trials they do when they're fit. 
' The last one they ran was a snorter — 
' A gallop to gladden one's heart — 
' Two-twelve for a mile and a quarter, 
' And finished as straight as a dart. 

31 



^° OUR NEW HORSE 

' And then when I think that they're ready 
' To win me a nice little swag, 



J' 



' They are licked like the veriest neddy — 
' They're licked from the faU of the flag. 
' The mare held her own to the stable, 
' She died out to nothing at that, 
' And Partner he never seemed able 
' To pace it with Aristocrat. 



' And times have been bad, and the seasons 

' Don't promise to be of the best ; 

' In short, boys, there's plenty of reasons 

' For giving the racing a rest. 

' The mare can be kept on the station — 

' Her breeding is good as can be — 

' But Partner, his next destination 

' Is rather a trouble to me. 



' We can't sell him here, for they know him 
' As well as the clerk of the course ; 
' He's raced and won races tiU, blow him, 
' He's done as a handicap horse. 



OUR NEW HORSE S3 

' A jady, uncertain performer, 

' They weight him right out of the hunt, 

"And clap it on warmer and warmer 

' Whenever he gets near the front. 

' It's no use to paint him or dot him 

' Or put any ' fake ' on his brand, 

' For bushmen are smart, and they'd spot him 

' In any sale-yard in the land. 

' The folk about here could all tell him, 

' Could swear to each separate hair ; 

' Let us send him to Sydney and sell him, 

' There's plenty of Jugginses there. 

' We'll call him a maiden, and treat 'em 
' To trials will open their eyes, 
' We'll run their best horses and beat 'em, 
' And then wont they think him a prize. 
* I pity the fellow that buys him, 
' He'll find in a very short space, 
' No matter how highly he tries him, 
' The beggar won't race in a race.' 

Next week, under ' Seller and Buyer,' 
Appeared in the Daily Gazette : 
' A racehorse for sale, and a flyer ; 
' Has never been started as yet , 



34 OUR NEW HORSE 

' A trial will show what his pace is ; 
' The buyer can get him in light, 
' And win all the handicap races. 
• Apply here before Wednesday night.' 

He sold for a hundred and thirty, 
Because of a gallop he had 
One morning with Bluefish and Bertie, 
And donkey-licked both of 'em bad. 
And when the old horse had departed, 
The life on the station grew tame ; 
The race-track was dull and deserted, 
The boys had gone back on the game. 



The winter rolled by, and the station 
Was green with the garland of spring, 
A spirit of glad exultation 
Awoke in each animate thing. 
And aU the old love, the old longing. 
Broke out in the breasts of the boys, 
The visions of racing came thronging 
With all its delirious joys- 



OUR NRW HOESE 35 

The rushing of floods in their courses, 
The rattle of rain on the roofs 
Recalled the fierce rush of the horses, 
The thunder of galloping hoofs. 
And soon one broke out: 'I can suffer 
' No longer the life of a slug, 
' The man that don't race is a duffer, 
' Let's have one more run for the mug.' 

Why, everything races, no matter 
Whatever its method may be : 
The waterfowl hold a regatta ; 
The 'possums run heats up a tree ; 
The emus are constantly sprinting 
A handicap out on the plain ; 
It seems like all nature was hinting, 
Tis time to be at it again. 

The cockatoo parrots are talking 
Of races to far away lands ; 
The native companions are walking 
A go-as-you-please on the sands ; 
The little foals gallop for pastime ; 
The wallabies race down the gap ; 



36 OUR NEW HORSE 

Let's try it once more for the last time, 
Bring out the old jacket and cap. 

And now for a horse ; we might try one 
Of those that are bred on the place, 
But I think it better to buy one, 
A horse that has proved he can race. 
Let us send down to Sydney to Skinner, 
A thorough good judge who can ride, 
And ask him to buy us a spinner 
To clean out the whole countryside. 

They wrote him a letter as follows : 

' We want you to buy us a horse ; 

' He must have the speed to catch swallows, 

' And stamina with it of course. 

' The price ain't a thing that'll grieve us, 

' It's getting a bad 'un annoys 

' The undersigned blokes, and believe us, 

' We're yours to a cinder, ' the boys.' ' 

He answered: 'I've bought you a hummer, 
' A horse that has never been raced ; 
' I saw him run over the Drummer, 
' He held him outclassed and outpaced. 



OUR NEW HORSE 37 

' His breeding's not known, but they state he 
' Is bom of a thoroughbred strain, 
' I paid them a hundred and eighty, 
' And started the horse in the train.' 

They met him — alas, that these verses 
Aren't up to the subject's demands^ 
Can't set forth their eloquent curses. 
For Partner was back on their hands. 
They went in to meet him in gladness, 
They opened his box with delight — 
A silent procession of sadness 
They crept to the station at night. 

And life has grown dull on the station, 
The boys are all silent and slow ; 
Their work is a daily vexation, 
And sport is unknown to them now. 
Whenever they think how they stranded, 
They squeal just like guinea-pigs squeal ; 
They bit their own hook, and were landed 
With fifty pounds loss on the deal. 



AN IDYLL OP DANDALOO 

On Western plains, where shade is not, 
'Neath summer skies of clondless blue, 

Where all is dry and all is hot, 

There stands the town of Dandaloo — 

A township where life's total sum 

Is sleep, diversified with rum. 

It's grass-grown streets with dust are deep, 
'Twere vain endeavour to express 

The dreamless silence of its sleep. 
Its wide, expansive drunkenness. 

The yearly races mostly drew 

A lively crowd to Dandaloo. 

There came a sportsman from the East, 
The eastern land where sportsmen blow, 

And brought with him a speedy beast — 
A speedy beast as horses go. 



AN IDYLL OF DANDALOO 39 

He came afar in hope to ' do ' 
The little town of Dandaloo. 



Now this was weak of him, I wot— 
Exceeding weak, it seemed to me — 

For we in Dandaloo were not 
The Jugginses we seemed to be ; 

In fact, we rather thought we knew 

Our book by heart in Dandaloo. 

We held a meeting at the bar, 

And met the question fair and square — 
' We've stumped the country near and far 

' To raise the cash for races here ; 
' We've got a hundred pounds or two — 
' Not half so bad for Dandaloo. 

' And now, it seems, we have to be 

' Cleaned out by this here Sydney bloke, 

' With his imported horse ; and he 

' Will scoop the pool and leave us broke. 

' Shall we sit still, and make no fuss 

' While this chap climbs all over us ! ' 



40 AN IDYLL OF DANDALOO 

The races came to Dandaloo, 

And all the cornstalks from the West, 
On ev'ry kind of moke and screw, 

Came forth in all their glory drest. 
The stranger's horse, as hard as nails, 
Look'd fit to run for New South Wales. 

He won the race by half a length — 
Quite half a length, it seemed to me — 

But Dandaloo, with all its strength, 

Roared out ' Dead heat !' most fervently ; 

And, after hesitation meet, 

The judge's verdict was ' Dead heat ! ' 

And many men there were could tell 
What gave the verdict extra force : 

The stewards, and the judge as well — 
They all had backed the second horse. 

For things like this they sometimes do 

In larger towns than Dandaloo. 

They ran it oif ; the stranger won, 

Hands down, by near a hundred yards. 

He smiled to think his troubles done j 
But Dandaloo held all the cards. 



AN IDYLL OP DANDALOO 41 

They ■went to scale and — cruel fate ! — ■ 
His jockey turned out under-weight. 



Perhaps they'd tampered with the scale ! 

I cannot tell. I only know 
It weighed him out all right. I fail 

To paint that Sydney sportsman's woe. 
He said the stewards were a crew 
Of low-lived thieves in Dandaloo. 



He lifted up his voice, irate, 

And swore till all the air was blue ; 

So then we rose to vindicate 
The dignity of Dandaloo. 

' Look here,' said we, ' you must not poke 

Such oaths at us poor country folk.' 

We rode him softly on a rail. 

We shied at him, in careless glee. 

Some large tomatoes, rank and stale, 
And eggs of great antiquity — 

Their wild, unholy fragrance flew 

About the town of Dandaloo. 



42 AN IDYLL OF DANDALOO 

He left the town at break of day, 

He led his race-horse through the streets, 

And now he tells the tale, they say, 
To every racing man he meets. 

And Sydney sportsmen all eschew 

The atmosphere of Dandaloo. 



THE GEEBUNG POLO CLUB 

It was somewhere up the country, in a land of rock 

and scrub, 
That they formed an institution called the Geebung 

Polo Club. 
They were long and wiry natives from the rugged 

mountain side, 
And the horse was never saddled that the Geebungs 

couldn't ride ; 
But their style of playing polo was irregular and rash — 
They had mighty little science, but a mighty lot of 

dash : 
And they played on mountain ponies that were 

muscular and strong. 
Though their coats were quite unpolished, and their 

manes and tails were long. 
And they used to train those ponies wheeling cattle 

in the scrub : 
They were demons, were the members of the Geebung 

Polo Club. 

43 



44 THE GEEBUNG POLO CLUB 

It was somewhere down the country, in a city's smoke 

and steam, 
That a polo club existed, called ' The Cuff and CoUar 

Team.' 
As a social institution 'twas a marvellous success. 
For the members were distinguished by exclusiveness 

and dress. 
They had natty little ponies that were nice, and 

smooth, and sleek, 
Tor their cultivated owners only rode 'em once a week. 
So they started up the country in pursuit of sport 

and fame, 
For they meant to show the Geebungs how they 

ought to play the game ; 
And they took their valets with them — ^just to give 

their boots a rub 
Ere they started operations on the Greebung Polo 

Club. 

Now my readers can imagine how the contest ebbed 

and flowed, 
When the Geebung boys got going it was time to clear 

the road ; 
And the game was so terrific that ere half the time 

was gone 



THE GEEBUNG POLO CLUB 45 

A spectator's leg was broken — just from merely look- 
ing on. 

For they -waddied one another till the plain was 
strewn with dead, 

While the score was kept so even that they neither 
got ahead. 

And the Cuff and Collar Captain, when he tumbled 
off to die, 

Was the last surviving player — so the game was called 
a tie. 

Then the Captain of the Geebungs raised him slowly 

from the ground, 
Though his wounds were mostly mortal, yet he fiercely 

gazed around ; 
There was no one to oppose hinfi — aU the rest were in 

a trance. 
So he scrambled on his pony for his last expiring 

chance. 
For he meant to make an effort to get victory to his 

side; 
So he struck at goal — and missed it — then he tumbled 

off and died. 



46 THE GEEBUNG POLO CLUB 

By the old Campaspe River, where the breezes shake 

the grass, 
There's a row of little gravestones that the stockmen 

never pass. 
For they bear a crude inscription saying, ' Stranger, 

drop a tear, 
' For the Cuff and CoUar players and the Geebung 

boys lie here.' 
And on misty moonlit evenings, whUe the dingoes 

howl around, 
You can see their shadows flitting down that phantom 

polo ground ; 
You can hear the loud collisions as the flying players 

meet, 
And the rattle of the mallets, and the rush of ponies' 

feet. 
Till the terrified spectator rides hke blazes to the 

pub — 
He's been haunted by the spectres of the Geebimg 

Polo Club. 



THE TRAVELLING POST OFFICE 

The roving breezes come and go, the reed beds sweep 

and sway, 
The sleepy river murmurs low, and loiters on its way, 
It is the land of lots o' time along the Castlereagh. 



The old man's son had left the farm, he found it duU 

and slow, 
He drifted to the great North-west where all the 

rovers go. 
' He's gone so long,' the old man said, ' he's dropped 

right out of mind, 
' But if you'd write a line to him I'd take it very kind; 
' He's shearing here and fencing there, a kind of waif 

and stray, 
He's droving now with Conroy's sheep along the 



Castlereagh. 



47 



48 THE TRAVELLING POST OFFICE 

' The sheep are travelUng for the grass, and travelling 
very slow ; 

' They may be at Mundooran no^y, or past the Over- 
flow, 

'Or tramping down the black soil flats across by 
Waddiwong, 

' But all those little country towns would send the 
letter wrong, 

• The mailman, if he's extra tired, would pass them in 

his sleep, 
' It's safest to address the note to ' Care of Conroy's 
sheep,' 

• For five and twenty thousand head can scarcely go 

astray, 
' You write to ' Care of Conroy's sheep along the 
Castlereagh.' ' 

By rock and ridge and riverside the western mail has 
gone. 

Across the great Blue Mountain Range to take that 
letter on. 

A moment on the topmost grade while open fire doors 
glare, 

She pauses like a living thing to breathe the moun- 
tain air, 



THE TRAVELLING POST OFFICE 49 

Then launches down the other side across the plains 

away 
To bear that note to ' Conroy's sheep along the Cas- 

tlereagh.' 

And now by coach and mailman's bag it goes from 

town to town, 
And Conroy's Gap and Conroy's Creek have marked 

it ' further down.' 
Beneath a sky of deepest blue where never cloud 

abides, 

A speck upon the waste of plain the lonely mailman 
rides. 

Where fierce hot winds have set the pine and myall 

boughs asweep 
He hails the shearers passing by for news of Conroy's 

sheep. 
By big lagoons where wildfowl play and crested 

pigeons flock, 
By camp fires where the drovers ride around their 

restless stock. 
And past the teamster toiling down to fetch the wool 

away 
My letter chases Conroy's sheep along the Castlereagh, 



SALTBUSH BILL 

Now this is the law of the Overland that aU in the 

West obey, 
A man must cover with travelling sheep a six-mile 

stage a day ; 
But this is the law which the drovers make, right 

easily understood, 
They travel their stage where the grass is bad, but 

they camp where the grass is good ; 
They camp, and they ravage the squatter's grass till 

never a blade remains, 
Then they drift away as the white clouds drift on the 

edge of the saltbush plains, 
From camp to camp and from run to run they battle 

it hand to hand, 
For a blade of grass and the right to pass on the 

track of the Overland, 



SALTBUSH BILL 51 

For this is the law of the Great Stock Routes, 'tis 

written in white and black — 
The man that goes with a travelling mob must keep 

to a half-mile track; 
And the drovers keep to a half-mile track on the runs 

where the grass is dead, 
But they spread their sheep on a well-grassed run till 

they go with a two-mile spread. 
So the squatters hurry the drovers on from dawn till 

the fall of night, 
And the squatters' dogs and the drovers' dogs get 

mixed in a deadly fight ; 
Yet the squatters' men, though they hunt the mob, 

are willing the peace to keep. 
For the drovers learn h^ to use their hands when 

they go with the travelHng sheep ; 
But this is the tale of a Jackaroo that came from a 

foreign strand, 
And the fight that he fought with Saltbush Bill, the 

King of the Overland. 

Now Saltbush Bill was a drover tough, as ever the 

country knew. 
He had fought his way on the Great Stock Routes 

from the sea to the Big Barcoo j 



52 SALTBUSH BILL 

He could tell when he came to a friendly run that 

gave him a chance to spread, 
And he knew where the hungry owners were that 

hurried his sheep ahead ; 
He was drifting down in the Eighty drought with a 

mob that could scarcely creep, 
(When the kangaroos by the thousands starve, it is 

rough on the travelling sheep). 
And he camped one night at the crossing-place on the 

edge of the WUga run, 
' We must manage a feed for them here,' he said, ' or 

the half of the mob are done I" 
So he spread them out when they left the camp 

wherever they liked to go. 
Till he grew aware of a Jackaroo with a station-hand 

in tow, 
Ajnd they set to work on the straggling sheep, and 

with many a stockwhip crack 
They forced them in where the grass was dead in the 

space of the half-mile track ; 
So William prayed that the hand of fate might 

suddenly strike Viim blue 
But he'd get some grass for his starving sheep in the 

teeth of that Jackaroo. 



SALTBUSH BILL 53 

So he turned and he cursed the Jackaroo, he cursed 

him alive or dead, 
From the soles of his great unwieldy feet to the 

crown of his ugly head, 
With an extra curse on the moke he rode and the cur 

at his heels that ran. 
Till the Jackaroo from his horse got down and he 

went for the drover-man ; 
With the station-hand for his picker-up, though the 

sheep ran loose the while. 
They battled it out on the saltbush plain in the 

regular prize-ring style. 

Now, the new chum fought for his honour's sake and 

the pride of the English race, 
But the drover fought for his daily bread with a smile 

on his bearded face ; 
So he shifted ground and he sparred for wind and he 

made it a lengthy mill, 
And from time to time as his scouts came in they 

whispered to Saltbush Bill — 
' We have spread the sheep with a two-mile spread, 

and the grass it is something grand, 
' You must stick to him, Bill, for another round for 

the pride of the Overland.' 



54 SALTBUSH BILL 

The new chum made it a rushing fight, though never 

a blow got home, 
Till the sun rode high in the cloudless sky and glared 

on the brick-red loam. 
Till the sheep drew in to the shelter-trees and settled 

them down to rest. 
Then the drover said he would fight no more and he 

gave his opponent best. 
So the new chum rode to the homestead straight and 

he told them a story grand 
Of the desperate fight that he fought that day with 

the King of the Overland. 
And the tale went home to the Public Schools of the 

pluck of the English swell. 
How the drover fought for his very life, but blood in 

the end must tell. 
But the travelling sheep and the Wilga sheep were 

boxed on the Old Man Plain. 
'Twas a full week's Work ere they drafted out and 

hunted them off again, 
With a week's good grass in their wretched hides, 

with a curse and a stockwhip crack, 
They hunted them off on the road once more to starve 

on the half-mile track. 



SALTBUSH BILL . 55 

And Salfcbush Bill, on the Overland, will many a time 

recite 
How the best day's work that ever he did was the 

day that he lost the fight. 



A MOUNTAIN STATION 

I BOUGHT a run a while ago, 

On country rough and ridgy, 
Where wallaroos and wombats grow — 

The Upper Murrumbidgee. 
The grass is rather scant, it's true, 

But this a fair exchange is, 
The sheep can see a lovely view 

By climbing up the ranges. 

And ' She-oak Flat ' 's the station's name, 

I'm not surprised at that, sirs : 
The oaks were there before I came. 

And I supplied the flat, sirs. 
A man would wonder how it's done. 

The stock so soon decreases — 
They sometimes tumble off the run 

And break themselves to pieces. 



A MOUNTAIN STATION 57 

I've tried to make expenses meet, 

But wasted all my labours, 
The sheep the dingoes didn't eat 

Were stolen by the neighbours. 
They stole my pears — my native pears — 

Those thrice-convicted felons, 
And ravished from me unawares 

My crop of paddy-melons. 

And sometimes under sunny skies, 

Without an explanation, 
The Murrumbidgee used to rise 

And overflow the station. 
But this was caused (as now I know) 

When summer sunshine glowing 
Had melted all Kiandra's snow 

And set the river going. 

And in the news, perhaps you read : 

' Stock passings. Puckawidgee, 
' Fat cattle : Seven hundred head 

' Swept down the Murrumbidgee ; 
' Their destination's quite obscure, 

' But, somehow, there's a notion, 
' Unless the river falls, they're sure 

' To reach the Southern Ocean.' 



58 A MOUNTAIN STATION 

So after that 111 give it best ; 

No more with Fate I'll battle. 
I'll let the river take the rest, 

For those were all my cattle. 
And with one comprehensive curse 

I close my brief narration. 
And advertise it in my verse — 

' For Sale! A Mountain Station.' 



BEEN THERE BEFORE 

There came a stranger to Walgett town, 

To "Walgett town when the sun was low, 

And he carried a thirst that was worth a crown. 

Yet how to quench it he did not know ; 

But he thought he might take those yokels down, 

The guileless yokels of "Walgett town. 

They made him a bet in a private bar. 

In a private bar when the taUc was high, 

And they bet him some pounds no matter how far 

He could pelt a stone, yet he could not shy 

A stone right over the river so brown, 

The Darling river at "Walgett town. 

He knew that the river from bank to bank 
"Was fifty yards, and he smiled a smile 
As he trundled down, but his hopes they sank 
For there wasn't a stone within fifty mile ; 
For the saltbush plain and the open down 
Produce no quarries in "Walgett town. 



60 BEEN THEEB BEFORE 

The yokels laughed at his hopes o'erthrown, 

And he stood awhile like a man in a dream ; 

Then out of his pocket he fetched a stone, 

And pelted it over the silent stream — 

He had been there before : he had wandered down 

On a previous visit to Walgett town. 



THE MAN WHO "WAS AWAY 

Thb widow sought the lawyer's room with children 

three in tow, 
She told the lawyer man her tale in tones of deepest 

woe. 
Said she, ' My husband took to drink for pains in his 

inside, 
• And never drew a sober breath from then until he 

died. 

' He never drew a sober breath, he died without a 

will, 
' And I must seU the bit of land the childer's mouths 

to fill. 
' There's some is grown and gone away, but some is 

childer yet, 
' And times is very bad indeed — a livin's hard to get. 



62 THE MAN WHO WAS AWAY 

' There's Min and Sis and little Chris, they stops at 

home with me, 
' And Sal has married Greenhide Bill that breaks for 

Bingeree. 
' And Fred is drovin' Conroy's sheep along the Castle- 

reagh, 
' And Charley's shearin' down the Bland, and Peter 

is away.' 

The lawyer wrote the details down in ink of legal 

blue — 
' There's Minnie, Susan, Christopher, they stop at 

home with yon ; 
' There's Sarah, Frederick and Charles, I'll write to 

them to-day, 
' But what about the other one — the one who is away 1 

' You'll have to furnish his consent to sell the bit of 
land.' 

The widow shuffled in her seat, ' Oh, don't you under- 
stand ? 

' T thought a lawyer ought to know — I don't know 
what to say — 

' You'll have to do without him, boss, for Peter is 
away.' 



THE MAN WHO WAS AWAY 63 

But here the little boy spoke up — said he, ' We 

thought you knew ; 
' He's done six months in Goulburn gaol — he's got six 

more to do.' 
Thus in one comprehensive flash he made it clear as 

day, 
The mystery of Peter's life — the man who was away. 



THE MAN FROM IRONBAEK 

It was the man from Ironbark who struck the Sydney 

town, 
He wandered over street and park, he wandered up 

and down. 
He loitered here, he loitered there, till he was like to 

drop, 
Until at last in sheer despair he sought a barber's 

shop. 
' 'Ere ! shave my beard and whiskers off, I'U be a man 

of mark, 
' I'll go and do the Sydney toff up home in Ironbark.' 

The barber man was small and flash, as barbers mostly 

are. 
He wore a strike-your-fancy sash, he smoked a huge 

cigar ; 
He was a humorist of note and keen at repartee, 
He laid the odds and kept a ' tote,' whatever that 

may be. 



THE MAN FROM IBONBARK 65 

And when lie saw our friend arrive, he whispered 

' Here's a lark ! 
' Just watch me catch him all alive, this man from 

Ironbark.' 

There were some gilded youths that sat along the 
barber's wall. 

Their eyes were dull, their heads were flat, they had 
no brains at all ; 

To them the barber passed the wink, his dexter eyelid 
shut, 

'I'll make this bloomin' yokel think his bloomin' 
throat is cut.' 

And as he soaped and rubbed it in he made a rude 
remark : 

'Is'pose the flats is pretty green up therein Iron- 
bark. 

A grunt was all reply he got ; he shaved the bush- 
man's chin. 

Then made the water boiling hot and dipped the razor 
in. 

He raised his hand, his brow grew black, he paused 
awhile to gloat. 



66 THK MAN FROM IRONBARK 

Then slashed the red-hot razor-back across his victim's 

throat ; 
Upon the newly-shaven skin it made a livid mark — 
No doubt it fairly took him in — the man from Iron- 
bark. 

He fetched a wild up-country yell might wake the 

dead to hear, 
And though his throat, he knew full weU, was cut 

from ear to ear, 
He struggled gamely to his feet, and faced the 

murd'rous foe : 
' You've done for me ! you dog, I'm beat ! one hit 

before I go ! 
' I only wish I had a knife, you blessed murdering 

shark ! 
' But you'll remember all your life, the man from 

Ironbark.' 

He lifted up his hairy paw, with one tremendous clout 
He landed on the barber's jaw, and knocked the 

barber out. 
He set to work with nail and tooth, he made the 

place a wreck ; 
He grabbed the nearest gilded youth, and tried to 

break his neck. 



THE MAN FROM IRONBARK 67 

And all the while his throat he held to save his vital 

spark, 
And ' Murder ! Bloody Murder !' yelled the man from 

Ironbark. 

A peeler man who heard the din came in to see the 

show; 
He tried to run the bushman in, but he refused to go. 
And when at last the barber spoke, and said ' 'Twas 

all in fun — 
' 'Twas just a little harmless joke, a trifle overdone.' 
' A joke !' he cried, ' By George, that's fine ; a lively 

sort of lark ; 
' I'd like to catch that murdering swine some night 

in Ironbark.' 

And now while round the shearing floor the list'ning 

shearers gape. 
He tells the story o'er and o'er, and brags of his 

escape, 
' Them barber chaps what keeps a tote. By George, 

I've had enough, 
' One tried to cut my bloomln' throat, but thank the 

Lord it's tough." 



68 THE MAN FROM IRONBARK 

And whether he's believed or no, there's one thing to 

remark, 
That flowing beards are all the go way up in Ironbark. 



THE OPEN STEEPLECHASE 

I HAD ridden over hurdles up the country once or ^ 
twice, 

By the side of Snowy River with a horse they called 
' The Ace.' 

And we brought him down to Sydney, and our rider, 
Jimmy Rice, 

Got a faU and broke his shoulder, so they nabbed me 
in a trice — 

Me, that never wore the colours, for the Open Steeple- 
chase. 

' Make the running,' said the trainer, ' it's your only 

chance whatever, 
' Make it hot from start to finish, for the old black 

horse can stay, 
' And just think of how they'll take it, when they 

hear on Snowy River 



70 THE OPEN STEEPLECHASE 

' That the country boy was plucky, and the country 

horse was clever. 
' You must ride for old Monaro and the mountain 

boys to-day.' 

'Are you ready,' said the starter, as we held the 

horses back. 
All ablazing with impatience, with excitement all 

aglow ; 
Before us Uke a ribbon stretched the steeple-chasing 

track. 
And the sun-rays glistened brightly on the chestnut 

and the black 
As the starter's words came slowly, 'Are — you — 

ready ? Go ! ' 

Well, I scarcely knew we'd started, I was stupid like 

with wonder 
Till the field closed up beside me and a jump appeared 

ahead. 
And we flew it like a hurdle, not a baulk and not a 

blunder. 
As we charged it all together, and it fairly whistled 

under. 
And then some were pulled behind me and a few shot 

out and led. 



THE OPEN STEEPLECHASE 71 

So we ran for half the distance, and I'm making no 

pretences 
When I tell you I was feeling very nervous-like and 

queer, 
For those jockeys rode lite demons ; you would think 

they'd lost their senses 
If you saw them rush their horses at those rasping 

five foot fences — ■ 
And in place of making running I was falling to the 

rear. 

TiU a chap came racing past me on a horse they 
called ' The Quiver,' 

And said he, ' My country joker, are you going to 
give it best 1 

' Are you frightened of the fences t does their stout- 
ness make you shiver 1 

' Have they come w breeding cowards by the side of 
Snowy River 1 

' Are there riders on Monaro 1 ' but I never heard 

the rest. 

For I drove the Ace and sent him just as fast as he 

could pace it, 
At the big black line of timber stretching fair across 

the track. 



72 THE OPEN STEEPLECHASE 

And he shot beside the Quiver. ' Now,' said I, ' my 

boy, we'll race it. 
' You can come with Snowy River if you're only game 

to face it ; 
' Let us mend the pace a little and we'll see who cries 

a crack.' 



So we raced away together, and we left the others 

standing, 
And the people cheered and shouted as we settled 

down to ride. 
And we clung beside the Quiver. At his taking off 

and landing 
I could see his scarlet nostril and his mighty ribs 

expanding, 
And the Ace stretched out in earnest and we held 

him stride for stride. 

But the pace was so terrific that they soon ran out 

their tether — 
They were rolUng in their gallop, they were fairly 

blown, and beat — 
But they both were game as pebbles— neither one 

would show the feather. 



THE OPEN STEEPLECHASE 73 

And we rushed them at the fences, and they cleared 

them both together, 
Nearly every time they clouted but they somehow 

kept their feet. 

Then the last jump rose before us, and they faced it 

game as ever — 
We were both at spur and whipcord, fetching blood 

at every bound — 
And above the people's cheering and the cries of 

' Ace ' and ' Quiver,' 
I could hear the trainer shouting, ' One more run for 

Snowy River.' 
Then we struck the jump together and came smashing 

to the ground. 

Well, the Quiver ran to blazes, but the Ace stood still 

and waited, 
Stood and waited like a statue while I scrambled on 

his back. 
There was no one next or near me for the field was 

fairly slated, 
So I cantered home a winner with my shoulder 

dislocated. 
While the man that rode the Quiver followed hmping 

down the track. 



74 THE OPEN STEEPLECHASE 

And he shook my hand and told me that in all his 

days he never 
Met a man who rode more gamely, and our last set 

to was prime, 
And we wired them on Monaro how we chanced to 

beat the Quiver. 
And they sent us back an answer, ' Good old sort 

from Snowy River ; 
Send us word each race you start in and we'U 

back you every time.' 



THE AMATEUR RIDER 

Him going to ride for us ! Him — with the pants and 

the eyeglass and all. 
Amateur ! don't he just look it — it's twenty to one on 

a fall. 
Boss must be gone off his head to be sending our 

steeplechase crack 
Out over fences like these with an object like that on 

his back. 

Bide ! Don't tell me he can ride. With his pants 

just as loose as balloons, 
How can he sit on his horse 1 and his spurs like a pair 

of harpoons ; 
Ought to be under the Dog Act, he ought, and be 

kept off the course. 
Fall 1 why, he'd fall off a cart, let alone off e, steeple^ 

chase horse. 



« 



76 THE AMATEUR RIDER 

Yessir ! the 'orse is all ready — I wish you'd have rode 

him before ; 
Nothing like knowing your 'orse, sir, and this chap's 

a terror to bore ; / 

Battleaxe always could pull, and he rushes his fences 

like fun — 
Stands off his jump twenty feet, and then springs Kke 

a shot from a gun. 

Oh, he can jump 'em all right, sir, you make no mis- 
take, 'e's a toff ; 

Clouts 'em in earnest, too, sometimes, you mind that 
he don't clout you off — 

Don't seem to mind how he hits 'em, his shins is as 
hard as a nail. 

Sometimes you'll see the fence shake and the splinters 
fly up from the rail. 

All you can do is to hold hiTn and just let him jump 

as he likes, 
Give him his head at the fences, and hang on like 

death if he strikes ; 
Don't let him run himself out — ^you can lie third or 

fourth in the race — 
Until you clear the stone wall, and from that you can 

put on the pace. 



THE AMATEUR RIDER 77 

Fell at that wall once, he did, and it gave him a 
regular spread, 

Ever since that time he flies it — he'll stop if you pull 
at his head. 

Just let him race — ^you can trust him — he'll take first- 
class care he don't fall, 

And I think that's the lot — but remember, he miist 
have his head at the wall. 



Well, he's down safe as far as the start, and he seems 

to sit on pretty neat, 
Only his baggifled breeches would ruinate anyone's 

seat — 
They're away — ^here they come — ^the first fence, and 

he's head over heels for a crown ! 
Good for the new chum, he's over, and two of the 

others are down ! 

Now for the treble, my hearty — By Jove, he can ride, 

after all; 
Whoop, that's your sort — let him fly them ! He hasn't 

much fear of a fall. 



78 THE AMAIEUR RIDER 

Who in the world would have thought it 1 And 
aren't they just going a pace ? 

Little Recruit in the lead there will make it a stoutly- 
run race. 

Lord ! But they're racing in earnest — and down goes 

Recruit on his head, 
Rolling clean over his boy — it's a miracle if he ain't 

dead. 
Battleaxe, Battleaxe yet ! By the Lord, he's got most 

of 'em beat — 
Ho ! did you see how he struck, and the sweU never 

moved in his seat 1 

Second time round, and, by Jingo ! he's holding his 

lead of 'em well ; 
Hark to him clouting the timber ! It don't seem to 

trouble the swell. 
Now for the wall — let him rush it. A thirty-foot 

leap, I declare — 
Never a shift in his seat, and he's racing for home 

like a hare. 

What's that that's chasing him — Rataplan — regular 
demon to stay ! 



THE AMATEUR RIDER 79 

Sit down and ride for your life now ! Oh, good, that's 

the style — come away ! 
Rataplan's certain to beat you, unless you can give 

him the slip ; 
Sit down and rub in the whalebone now — give him 

the spurs and the whip ! 

Battleaxe, Battleaxe, yet — and it's Battleaxe wins for 

a crown ; 
Look at him rushing the fences, he wants to bring 

t'other chap down. 
Rataplan never will catch him if only he keeps on his 

pins ; 
Now ! the last fence ! and he's over it ! Battleaxe, 

Battleaxe wins ! 



Well, sir, you rode him just perfect — I knew from the 

first you could ride. 
Some of the chaps said you couldn't, an' I says just 

like this a' one side: 
Mark me, I says, that's a tradesman — the saddle is 

where he was bred. 
Weight ! you're all right, sir, and thank you ; and 

them was the words that I said. 



ON KILEY'S RUN 

The roving breezes come and go 
On Kiley's Run, 
The sleepy river murmurs low, 
And far away one dimly sees 
Beyond the stretch of forest trees — 
Beyond the foothUls dusk and dun — 
The ranges sleeping in the sun 

On Kiley's Run. 

'Tis many years since first I came 
To KUey's Run, 
More years than I would care to name 
Since I, a stripling, used to ride 
For miles and miles at Kiley's side. 
The whUe in stirring tones he told 
The stories of the days of old 

On Kiley's Run. 



ON KILEY'S RUN 81 

I see the old bush homestead now 

On Kiley's Run, 
Just nestled down beneath the brow 
Of one small ridge above the sweep 
Of river-flat, where willows weep 
And jasmin flowers and roses bloom, 
The air was laden with perfume 

On Kiley's Run. 

We lived the good old station life 

On Kiley's Run, 
With Utile thought of care or strife. 
Old Kiley seldom used to roam. 
He liked to make the Run his home, 
The swagman never turned away 
With empty hand at close of day 

From Kiley's Run. 

We kept a racehorse now and then 

On Kiley's Run, 
And neighb'ring stations brought their men 
To meetings where the sport was free, 
And dainty ladies came to see 
Their champions ride ; with laugh and song 
The old house rang the whole night long 

On Kiley's Run. 



82 ON KILEY'S RUN 

The station hands were friends I wot 

On Kileys Run, 
A reckless, merry-hearted lot — 
All splendid riders, and they knew 
The ' boss ' was kindness through and through. 
Old KUey always stood their friend, 
And s« they served him to the end 

On Kiley's Bun. 



But droughts and losses came apace 

To Kiley's Run, 
Till ruin stared him in the face ; 
He toiled and toiled while lived the light. 
He dreamed of overdrafts at night : 
At length, because he could not pay. 
His bankers took the stock away 

From Kiley's Run. 



Old Ealey stood and saw them go 

From Kiley's Run. 
The well-bred cattle marching slow ; 
His stockmen, mates for many a day. 
They wrung his hand and went away. 



ON KILEY'S RUN 83 



Too old to make another start, 
Old Kiley died — of broken heart, 
On Riley's Bun. 



The owner lives in England now 
Of Kiley's Run. 
He knows a racehorse from a cow ; 
But that is aU he knows of stock : 
His chiefest care is how to dock 
Expenses, and he sends from town 
To cut the shearers' wages down 
On Kiley's Run. 

There are no neighbours anywhere 
Near Kiley's Run. 
The hospitable homes are bare, 
The gardens gone ; for no pretence 
Must hinder cutting down expense : 
The homestead that we held so dear 
Contains a half-paid overseer 

On Kiley's Run. 

All life and sport and hope have died 

On Kiley's Run. 
No longer there the stockmen ride ; 



84 ON KILEY'8 RUN 

For sour-faced boundary riders creep 
On mongre] horses after sheep, 
Through ranges where, at racing speed, 
Old Kiley used to ' wheel the lead ' 
On Riley's Run. 



There runs a lane for thirty miles 

Through Riley's Run. 
On either side the herbage smiles, 
But wretched travelling sheep must pass 
Without a drink or blade of grass 
Thro' that long lane of death and shame 
The weary drovers curse the name 
Of Riley's Run. 



The name itseK is changed of late 

Of RUe/s Run. 
They call it ' Chandos Park Estate.' 
The lonely swagman through the dark 
Must hump his swag past Chandos Park. 
The name is English, don't you see. 
The old name sweeter sounds to me 
Of ' Riley's Run.' 



ON KILEY'S RUN 85 

I caimot guess what fate will bring 

To Riley's Run— 
For chances come and changes ring — 
I scarcely think 'twill always be 
Locked up to suit an absentee ; 
And if he lets it out in farms 
His tenants soon will carry arms 

On Kiley's Run. 



FRYING PAN'S THEOLOGY 

Scene : On Monaro. 

DramatU Persona : 
Shock-headed blackfellow, 

Boy (on a pony). 
Snowflakes are falling 

So gentle and slow, 
Youngster says, ' Frying Pan, 

' What makes it snow 1 ' 
Frying Pan confident 

Makes the reply — 
• Shake 'em big flour bag 

' Up in the sky ! ' 
' What ! when there's miles of it ! 

• Surely that's brag. 
' Who is there strong enough 

' Shake such a bag ? ' 
' What parson teUin' you. 



FRYING PAN'S THEOLOGY 87 

' Ole Mister Dodd, 
' Tell you in Sunday-school '( 

'Big feller God! 
' He drive His bullock dray, 

' Then thunder go, 
' He shake His flour bag — 

' Tumble down show ! ' 



THE TWO DEVINES 

It was shearing-time at the Myall Lake, 

And there rose the sound thro' the livelong day 

Of the constant clash that the shear-blades make 
When the fastest shearers are making play, 

But there wasn't a man in the shearers' lines 

Thab could shear a sheep with the two Devines. 

They had rung the sheds of the east and west, 
Had beaten the cracks of the Walgett side. 

And the Cooma shearers had giv'n them best — 
When they saw them shear, they were satisfied. 

Prom the southern slopes to the western pines 

They were noted men, were the two Devines. 

'Twas a wether flock that had come to hand, 
Great struggling brutes, that the shearers shirk, 

For the fleece was filled with the grass and sand, 
And seventy sheep was a big day's work. 

' At a pound a hundred it's dashed hard lines 

' To shear such sheep,' said the two Devines. 



THE TWO DEVINES 89 

But the shearers knew that they'd make a cheque 
"When they came to deal -with the station ewes ; 

They were bare of belly and bare of neck 
With a fleece as light as a kangaroo's. 

' We will show the boss how a shear-blade shines 

' When we reach those ewes,' said the two Devines. 

But it chanced next day when the stunted pines 
Were swayed and stirred with the dawn-wind's 
breath, 

That a message came for the two Devines 
That their father lay at the point of death. 

So away at speed through the whispering pines 

Down the bridle track rode the two Devines. 

It was fifty miles to their father's hut, 

And the dawn was bright when they rode away ; 

At the fall of night when the shed was shut 
And the men had rest from the toilsome day. 

To the shed once more through the dark'ning pines 

On their weary steeds came the two Devines. 

' Well, you're back right sudden,' the super, said ; 

' Is the old man dead and the funeral done V 
' Well, no, sir, he ain't not exactly dead, 



90 THB TWO DEVINE3 

' But as good as dead,' said the eldest son — 
' And we couldn't bear such a chance to lose, 
' So we came straight back to tackle the ewes. 



They are shearing ewes at the Myall Lake, 
And the shed is meny the livelong day 

With the clashing sound that the shear-blades make 
When the fastest shearers are making play, 

And a couple of ' hundred and ninety-nines ' 

Are the tallies made by the two Devines. 



m THE DROVING DAYS 

' Only a pound,' said the auctioneer, 
' Only a pound ; and I'm standing here 
' Selling this animal, gain or loss. 
' Only a pound for the drover's horse ; 
' One of the sort that was ne'er afraid, 
' One of the boys of the Old Brigade ; 
' Thoroughly honest and game, I'll swear, 
' Only a little the worse for wear ; 
' Plenty as bad to be seen in town, 
' Give me a bid and I'll knock him down ; 
' Sold as he stands, and without recourse, 
' Give me a bid for the drover's horse.' 

Loitering there in an aimless way 
Somehow I noticed the poor old grey, 
Weary and battered and screwed, of course. 
Yet when I noticed the old grey horse. 
The rough bush saddle, and single rein 
Of the bridle laid on his tangled mane, 

91 



92 IN THE DROVING DAYS 

Straightway the crowd and the auctioneer 

Seemed on a sudden to disappear, 

Melted away in a kind ot haze, 

For my heart went back to the droving days. 



Back to the road, and I crossed again 

Over the miles of the saltbush plain — 

The shining plain that is said to be 

The dried-up bed of an inland sea. 

Where the air so dry and so clear and bright 

Refracts the sun with a wondrous light, 

And out in the dim horizon makes 

The deep blue gleam of the phantom lakes. 

At dawn of day we would feel the breeze 
That stirred the boughs of the sleeping trees, 
And brought a breath of the fragrance rare 
That comes and goes in that scented air ; 
For the trees and grass and the shrubs contain 
A dry sweet scent on the saltbush plain. 
For those that love it and understand, 
The saltbush plain is a wonderland. 
A wondrous country, where Nature's ways 
Were revealed to me in the droving days. 



IN THE DROVING DAYS 93 

We saw the fleet wild horses pass, 
And the kangaroos through the Mitchell grass, 
The emu ran with her frightened brood 
All unmolested and unpursued. 
Bnt there rose a shout and a wild hubbub 
When the dingo raced for his native scrub. 
And he paid right dear for his stolen meals 
With the drovers' dogs at his wretched heels. 
For we ran him down at a rattling pace, 
While the packhorse joined in the stirring chase. 
And a wild halloo at the kill we'd raise — 
We were light of heart in the droviag days. 

'Twas a drover's horse, and mj hand again 
Made a move to close on a fancied rein. 
For I felt the swing and the easy stride 
Of the grand old horse that I used to ride 
In drought or plenty, in good or iU, 
That same old steed was my comrade still ; 
The old grey horse with his honest ways 
Was a mate to me in the droviag days, 

When we kept our watch in the cold and damp, 
If the cattle broke from the sleeping camp. 
Over the flats and across the plain. 



94 IN THE DROVING DAYS 

With my head bent down on his waTing mane, 
Through the boughs above and the stumps below 
On the darkest night I could let him go 
At a racing speed ; he would choose his course, 
And my life was safe with the old. grey horse. 
But man and horse had a favourite job, 
When an outlaw broke from a station mob. 
With a right good will was the stockwhip plied, 
As the old horse raced at the straggler's side, 
And the greenhide whip such a weal would raise, 
We could use the whip in the droving days. 



' Only a pound !' and was this the end — 
Only a pound for the drover's friend. 
The drover's friend thai; had seen his day, 
And now was worthless, and cast away 
With a broken knee and a broken heart 
To be flogged and starved m a hawker's cart. 
Well, I made a bid for a sense of shame 
And the memories dear of the good old game. 

' Thank you ? Guinea ! and cheap at that ! 
' Against you there in the curly hat ! 
' Only a guinea, and one more chance. 



IN THE DROVING DAYS 9g 

' Down he goes if there's no adyance, 

' Third, and the last time, one ! two ! three !' 

And the old grey horse was knocked down to me. 

And now he's wandering, fat and sleek. 

On the lucerne flats by the Homestead Creek ; 

I dare not ride him for fear he'd fall. 

But he does a journey to beat them all, 

For though he scarcely a trot can raise. 

He can take me back to the droving days. 



LOST 

' He ought to be home,' said the old man, ' without 

there's something amiss. 
< He only went to the Two-mile — ^he ought to be back 

by this. 
' He woidd ride the Reckless filly, he wotdd have his 

wilful way ; 
' And, here, he's not back at sundown — ^nd what will 

his mother say? 

' He was always his mother's idol, since ever his father 

died; 
' And there isn't a horse on the station that he isn't 

game to ride. 
' But that Reckless mare is vicious, and if once she 

gets away 
' He hasn't got strength to hold her — and what wUl 

his mother say ?' 



LOST 97 

The old man walked to the sliprail, and peered up the 

dark'ning track, 
And looked and longed for the rider that would never 

more come back ; 
And the mother came and clutched him, with sudden, 

spasmodic fright: 
' What has become of my Willie?— why isn't he home 

to-night?' 

Away in the gloomy ranges, at the foot of an iron- 
bark. 

The bonnie, winsome laddie was lying stiff and stark ; 

For the Reckless mare had smashed h^m against a 
leaning limb. 

And his comely face was battered, and his merry eyes 
were dim. 

And the thoroughbred chestnut filly, the saddle be- 
neath her flanks. 

Was away, like fire through the ranges to join the wild 
mob's ranks ; 

And a broken-hearted woman and an old man worn 
and grey 

Were searching all night in the ranges till the sunrise 
brought the day. 



98 LOST 

And the mother kept feebly calling, with a hope that 
would not die, 

' Willie ! where are you, Willie ?' But how can the 
dead reply ; 

And hope died out with the daylight, and the dark- 
ness brought despair, 

God pity tiie stricken mother, and answer the widow's 
prayer ! 

Though far and wide they sought him, they found 

not where he fell ; 
For the ranges held him precious, and guarded their 

treasure well. 
The wattle blooms above him, and the blue bells blow 

close by, 
And the brown bees buzz the secret, and the wild 

lords sing reply. 

But the mother pined and faded, and cried, and took 

no rest, 
And rode each day to the ranges on her hopeless, 

weary quest. 
Seeking her loved one ever, she faded and pined away, 
But with strength of her great affection she still 

sought every day. 



LOST 99 

' I know that sooner or later I shall find my boy,' 

she said. 
But she came not home one evening, and they found 

her lying dead, 
And stamped on the poor pale features, as the spirit 

homeward pass'd. 
Was an angel smile of gladness — she had found the 

boy at last. 



OVER THE RANGE 

Little bush maiden, wondering-eyed, 

Playing alone in the creek-bed dry, 
In the small green flat on every side 

Walled in by the Moonbi Ranges high ; 
Tell us the tale of your lonely life, 

'Mid the great gray forests that know no change. 
' I never have left my home,' she said, 

' I have never been over the Moonbi Range. 

' Father and mother are both long dead, 

' And I live with granny in yon wee place.' 
' Where are your father and mother f we said. 

She puzzled awhile with thoughtful face. 
Then a light came into the shy brown eye. 

And she smiled, for she thought the question 
strange 
On a thing so certain — ' When people die 

' They go to the country over the range.' 



OVEll THE RANGE 101 

' And what is this country like, my lass V 

' There are blossoming trees and pretty flowers, 

' And shining creeks where the golden grass 
' Is fresh and sweet from the summer showers. 

' They never need work, nor want, nor weep ; 
' No troubles can come their hearts to estrange. 

' Some summer night I shall fall asleep, 

And wake in the country over the range.' 

Child, you are wise in your simple trust, 

JPor the wisest man knows no more than you. 
Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust : 

Our views by a range are bounded too ; 
But we know that God hath this gift in store, 

That when we come to the final change. 
We shall meet with our loved ones gone before 

To the beautiful country over the range. 



ONLY A JOCKEY 

'.Richard Beanison, a jockey, aged 14, while riding William 
Tell in his training, was thrown and killed. The horse U 
luckily uninjured.' — Melbourne Wire. 

Out in the grey cheerless chill of the morning light, 
Out on the track where the night shades still lurkj 

Ere the first gleam of the sungod's returning Ught, 
Round come the race-horses early at work. 

Reefing and pulling and racing so readily, 
Close sit the jockey-boys holding them hard, 

' Steady the stallion there — canter hiTn steadily, 
' Don't let him gallop so much as a yard.' 

Fiercely he fights while the others run wide of him, 
Reefs at the bit that would hold him in thraU, 

Plunges and bucks till the boy that's astride of him 
Goes to the ground with a terrible fall. 

102 



ONLY A JOCKEY 103 

' Stop him there! Block him there! Drive him in care- 
fuUy, 

' Lead him about till he's quiet and cool. 
' Sound as a bell ! though he's blown himself fearfully, 

' Now let us pick up this poor little fool. 

' Stunned 1 Oh, by Jove, I'm afraid it's a case with 
him; 

' Ride for the doctor ! keep bathing his head ! 
' Send for a cart to go down to our place with him' — 

No use ! One long sigh and the little chap's dead. 

Only a jockey-boy ! foul-mouthed and bad you see, 

Ignorant, heathenish, gone to his rest. 
Parson or Presbyter, Pharisee, Sadducee, 

What did you do for him 1 — bad was the best. 

Negroes and foreigners, all have a claim on you ; 

Yearly you send your weU-advertised hoard. 
But the poor jockey-boy — shame on you, shame on 
you, 

' Peed ye, my little ones ' — what said the Lord 1 

Him ye held less than the outer barbarian, 
Left him to die in Mb ignorant sin ; 



104 ONLY A JOCKEY 

Have you no principles, humanitarian 1 

Have you no precept — ' go gather them in?' 



Knew he God's name 1 In his brutal profanity, 
That name was an oath — out of many but one — 

What did he get from our famed Christianity ? 
Where has his.soul^ — ^if he had any — gone? 

Fourteen years old, and what was he taught of it 1 
What did he know of Grod's infinite grace ? 

Draw the dark curtain of shame o'er the thought of it, 
Draw the shroud over the jockey-boy's face. 



HOW M'GINNIS WENT MISSING 

Let us cease our idle chatter, 
Let the tears bedew our cheek, 

For a man from Tallangatta 
Has been missing for a week. 

Where the roaring flooded Murray 

Covered all the lower land, 
There he started in a hurry. 

With a bottle in his hand. 

And his fate is hid for ever. 
But the pubHc seem to think 

That he slumbered by the river, 
'Neath the influence of drink. 

And they scarcely seem to wonder 
That the river, wide and deep. 

Never woke him with its thunder 
Never stirred him in his sleep. 



106 HOW M'GINNIS WENT MISSING 

As the crashing logs came sweeping, 
And their tumtdt filled the air, 

Then M'Gianis murmured, sleeping, 
' 'Tis a wake in ould Kildare.' 

So the river rose and found him 
Sleeping softly by the stream, 

And the cruel waters drowned him 
Ere he wakened from his dream. 

And the blossom-tufted wattle. 
Blooming brightly on the lea, 

Saw M'Ginnis and the bottle 
Going drifting out to sea. 



A VOICE FROM THE TOWN 
A sequel to ' A Voice from the Bush 

I THOUGHT, in the days of the droving, 

Of steps I might hope to retrace. 
To be done with the bush and the roving 

And settle once more in my place. 
With a heart that was well nigh to breaking, 

In the long, lonely rides on the plain, 
I thought of the pleasure of taking 

The hand of a, lady again. 

I am back into civilisation. 

Once more in the stir and the strife, 
But the old joys have lost their sensation — 

The light has gone out of my Ufe ; 
The men of my time they have married. 

Made fortunes or gone to the wall ; 
Too long from the scene I have tarried. 

And, somehow, I'm out of it all. 

107 



108 A VOICE FROM THE TOWN 

For I go to the balls and the races 

A lonely companionless elf, 
And the ladies bestow all their graces 

On others less grey than myself ; 
While the talk goes around I'm a dumb one 

'Midst youngsters that chatter and prate, 
And they call me ' the Man who was Someone 

"Way back in the year Sixty-eight.' 

And I look, sour and old, at the dancers 

That swing to the strains of the band, 
And the ladies all give me the Lancers, 

No waltzea — I quite understand. 
For matrons intent upon matching 

Their daughters with infinite push, ' 
Would scarce thitik him worthy the catching. 

The broken-down man from the bush. 

New partners have come and new faces. 

And I, of the bygone brigade. 
Sharply feel that obHvion my place is — 

I must lie with the rest in the shade. 
And the youngsters, fresh-featured and pleasant. 

They live as we lived — ^fairly fast ; 
But I doubt if the men of the present 

Are as good as the men of the past. 



A VOICE FROM THE TOWN 109 

Of excitement and praise they are chary, 

There is nothing much good upon earth ; 
Their watchword is nil admirari. 

They are bored from the days of their birth. 
Where the life that we led was a revel 

They ' wince and relent and refrain ' — 
I could show them the road — to the devil, 

Were I only a youngster again. 

I could show them the road where the stumps are 

The pleasures that end in remorse. 
And the game where the Devil's three trumps are. 

The woman, the card, and the horse. 
Shall the blind lead the blind — shall the sower 

Of wind reap the storm as of yore 1 
Though they get to their goal somewhat slower, 

They march where we hurried before. 

For the world never learns — just as we did, 

They gallantly go to their fate, 
Unheeded all warnings, unheeded 

The maxims of elders sedate. 
As the husbandman, patiently toiling, 

Draws a harvest each year from the soil, 
So the fools grow afresh for the spoiling. 

And a new crop of thieves for the spoU. 



no A VOICE FROM THE TOWN 

But a truce to this dull moralising, 

Let them drink while the drops are of gold, 
I have tasted the dregs — 'twere surprising 

Were the new wine to me like the old ; 
And I weary for lack of employment 

In idleness day after day. 
For the key to the door of enjoyment 

Is Youth — and I've thrown it away. 



A BUNCH OF ROSES 

Roses raddy and roses white, 

What are the joys that my heart discloses 1 
Sitting alone in the fading light 
Memories come to me here to-night 

With the wonderful scent of the big red roses. 

Memories come as the daylight fades 

Down on the hearth where the firelight dozes ; 
Flicker and flutter the lights and shades, 
And I see the face of a queen of maids 

Whose memory comes with the scent of roses. 

Visions arise of a scene of mirth, 

And a ball-room belle that superbly poses — 
A queenly woman of queenly worth, 
And I am the happiest man on earth 

With a single flower from a bunch of roses. 



112 A BUNCH OF ROSES 

Only her memory lives to-night — 

God in His wisdom her young life closes; 
Over her grave may the turf be light, 
Cover her coffin with roses white — 

She was always fond of the big white roses. 



Such are the visions that fade away — 

Man proposes and God disposes ; 
Look in the glass and I see to-day 
Only an old man, worn and grey, 

Bending his head to a bunch of roses. 



BLACK SWANS 

As I lie at rest on a patch of clover 
In the Western Park when the day is done, 
I watch as the wild black swans fly over 
With their phalanx turned to the sinking sun ; 
And I hear the clang erf their leader crying 
To a lagging mate in the rearward flying, 
And they fade away in the darkness dying, 
Where the stars are mustering one by one. 

Oh ! ye wild black swans, 'twere a world of wonder 
For a while to join in your westward flight. 
With the stars above and the dim earth under, 
Through the cooling air of the glorious night. 
As we swept along on our pinions winging, 
We should catch the chime of a church-bell ringing, 
Or the distant note of a torrent singing, 
Or the far-ofT flash of a station light. 

a 113 



114 BLACK SWANS 

From the northern lakes with the reeds and rushes, 
Where the hills are clothed with a purple haze, 
Where the bell-birds chime and the songs of thrushes 
Make music sweet in the jungle maze. 
They will hold their course to the westward ever, 
Till they reach the banks of the old grey river, 
Where the waters wash, and the reed-beds quiver 
In the burmng heat of the summer days. 

Oh ! ye strange wild birds, will ye bear a greeting 
To the folk that Uve in that western land 1 
Then for every sweep of your pinions beating. 
Ye shall bear a wish to the sunburnt band. 
To the stalwart men who are stoutly fighting 
With the heat and drought and the dust-storm 

smiting, 
Yet whose life somehow has a strange inviting. 
When once to the work they have put their hand. 

Facing it yet ! Oh, my friend stout-hearted. 

What does it matter for rain or shine. 

For the hopes deferred and the gain departed ? 

Nothing could conquer that heart of thine. 

And thy health and strength are beyond confessing 

As the only joys that are worth possessing. 



BLACK SWANS 115 

May the days to come be as rich in blessing 
As the days we spent in the anld lang syne. 

I would fain go back to the old grey river, 
To the old bush days when our hearts were light, 
But, alas ! those days they have fled for ever, 
They are like the swans that have swept from sight. 
And I know full well that the strangers' faces 
Would meet us now in our dearest places ; 
For our day is dead and has left no traces 
But the thoughts that Uve in my mind to-night. 

There are folk long dead, and our hearts would 

sicken — 
We would grieve for them with a bitter pain, 
If the past could live and the dead could quicken. 
We then might turn to that life again. 
But on lonely nights we would hear them calling, 
We should hear their steps on the pathways falling. 
We should loathe the life with a hate appalling 
In our lonely rides by the ridge and plain. 



In the silent park is a scent of clover. 
And the distant roar of the town is dead, 



118 BLACK SWANS 

And I hear once more as the swans fly over 
Their far-oflf clamour from overhead. 
They are flying west by their instinct guided, 
And for man likewise is his fate decided, 
, And griefs apportioned and joys divided 
By a mighty power with a purpose dread. 



THE ALL RIGHT TIN 

He came from 'further out,' 
That land of heat and drought 
And dust and gravel. 
He got a touch of sun, 
And rested at the run 
Until his cure was done, 
And he could travel. 

When spring had decked the plain, 

He flitted off again 

As flit the swallows. 

And from that western land. 

When many months were spanned, 

A letter came to hand, 

Which read as follows : 

' Dear sir, I take my pen 
' In hopes that all your men 
' And yon are hearty.. 

IIT 



118 THE ALL RIGHT 'UN 

' You think that I've forgot 
' Tour kindness, Mr. Scott, 
' Oh, no, dear sir, I'm not 
' That sort of party. 

' You sometimes bet, I know, 
' Well, now you'll havea show 
' The ' books ' to frighten. 
' Up here at Wingadee 
' Young BUly Fife and me 
' We're training Strife, and he 
' Is a all right 'un. 

' Just now we're running byes, 

' But, sir, first time he tries 

' I'll send you word of. 

' And running ' on the crook ' 

' Their measures we have took, 

' It is the deadest hook 

' You ever heard of. 

' So when we lets him go, 
' Why, then, I'll let you know, 
' And you can have a show 
' To put a mite on. 



THE ALL RIGHT 'UN 119 

' Kow, sir, my leave I'll take, 
'Yours truly, William Blake. 
' P.S. — Make no mistake, 
' He's a all right 'un.' 



By next week's Riverine 
T saw my friend had been 
' A bit too cunning. 
I read : ' The racehorse Strife 
And jockey William Fife 
' Disqualified for life — 
' Suspicious running.' 

But though they spoilt his game, 

I reckon all the same 

I fairly ought to claim 

My friend a white 'un. 

For though he wasn't straight, 

His deeds would indicate 

His heart at any rate 

Was * a all right "un.* 



THE BOSS OF THE 'ADMIRAL LYNCH' 

Did you ever hear tell of Chili 1 I was readin' the 

other day 
Of President Balmaceda and of how he wa,s sent away. 
It seems that he didn't suit 'em — they thought that 

they'd like a change, 
So they started an insurrection and chased him across 

the range. 
They seem to be restless people — and, judging by 

what you hear, 
They raise up these revolutions 'bout two or three 

times a year ; 
And the man that goes out of office, he goes for the 

boundary quick, 
For there isn't no vote by ballot — it's bullets that 

does the faiek. 
An4 it ain't like a real battle, where the prisoners' 

lives are spared, 



THE BOSS OF THE ' ADMIRAL LYNCH ' 121 

And they fight till there's one side beaten and then 
there's a truce declared, 



And the man that has got the licking goes down like 

a blooming lord 
To hand in his resignation and give up his blooming 

sword, 
And the other man bows and takes it, and everything's 

all polite — 
This wasn't that kind of a picnic, this wasn't that sort 

of a fight. 
For the pris'ners they took — they shot 'em ; no odds 

were they small or great, 
K they'd collared old Balmaceda, they reckoned to 

shoot him straight. 
A lot of bloodthirsty devils they were — but there ain't 

a doubt 
They must have been real plucked 'uns— the way that 

they fought it out. 
And the king of 'em all, I reckon, the man that could 

stand a pinch. 
Was the boss of a one-horse gunboat. They called 

her the ' Admiral Lynch.' 



122 THE BOSS OP THE 

Well, he was for Balmaceda, and after the war was 

done, 
And Balmaceda was beaten and his troops had been 

forced to run. 
The other man fetched his army and proceeded to do 

things brown, 
He marched 'em into the fortress and took command 

of the town. 
Cannon and guns and horses troopin' along the road, 
Rumblin' over the bridges, and never a foeman showed 
Till they came in sight of the harbour, and the very 

first thing they see 
Was this mite of a one-horse gunboat a-lying against 

the quay. 
And there as they watched they noticed a flutter of 

crimson rag, 
And under their eyes he hoisted old Balmaceda's flag. 
Well, I tell you it fairly knocked 'em — it just took 

away their breath, 
For he must ha' known if they caught him, 'twas 

nothin' but sudden death. 
An' he'd got no fire in his furnace, no chance to put 

out to sea, 
So he stood by his gun and waited with his vessel 

against the quay. 



'ADMIRAL LYNCH' 123 

Well, they sent him a civil message to say that the 

war was done, 
And most of his side were corpses, and all that were 

left had run ; 
And blood had been spUt sufficient, so they gave him 

a chance to decide 
If he'd haul down his bit of bunting and come on the 

winning side. 
He listened and heard their message, and answered 

them all poHte, 
That he was a Spanish hidalgo, and the men of his 

race must fight ! 
A gunboat against an army, and with never a chance 

to run. 
And them with their hundred cannon and liim with a 

single gun: 
The odds were a trifle heavy — but he wasn't the sort 

to flinch. 
So he opened fire on the army, did the boss of the 

' Admiral Lynch.' 

They pounded his boat to pieces, they silenced his 

single gun, 
And captured the whole consignment, for none of 'em 

cared to nm ; 



124 THE BOSS OP THE ' ADMIRAL LYNCH ' 

And it don't say whether they shot him — it don't even 

give his name — 
But whatever they did I'll wager that he went to his 

graveyard game. 
I tell you those old hidalgos so stately and so polite, 
They turn out the real Maginnis when it comes to an 

uphill fight. 
There was General Alcantara, who died in the heaviest 

Tsrunt, 
And General Alzereca was killed in the battle's front; 
But the king of 'em all, I reckon — the man that oould 

stand a pinch — 
Was the man who attacked the army with the gnn- 

boat 'Admiral Lynch.' 



A BUSHMAN'S SONG 

I'm travellin' down the Castlereagh, and I'm a 

station-hand, 
I'm handy with the ropin' pole, I'm handy with the 

brand, 
And I can ride a rowdy colt, or swing the axe all day, 
But there's no demand for a station-hand along the 

Castlereagh. 

So it's shift, boys, shift, for there isn't the shghtest 

doubt 
That we've got to make a shift to the stations further 

out 
With the pack-horse runnin' after, for he follows like 

a dog. 
We must strike across the country at the old jig-jog. 

This old black horse I'm riding — if you'll notice what's 
his brand, 

125 



126 A BUSHMAN'S 80NG 

He wears the crooked R, you see — ^none better in the 

land. 
He takes a lot of beatin', and the other day we tried, 
Por a bit of a joke, with a racing bloke, for twenty 

pounds aside, 

It was shift, boys, shift, for there wasn't the slightest 

doubt. 
That I had to make him shift, for the money was 

nearly out ; 
But he cantered Jiome a winner, with the other one 

at the flog — 
He's a red-hot sort to pick up with his old jig-jog. 

I asked a cove for shearin' once along the Marthaguy : 
' We shear non-union, here,' says he. ' I call it scab,' 

says I. 
I looked along the shearin' floor before I turned to 

go- 
There were eight or ten dashed Chinamen a-shearin' 

in a row. 

It was shift, boys, shift, for there wasn't the slightest 

doubt 
It was time to make a shift with the leprosy about. 



A BUSHMAN'S SONG 127 

So I saddled up my horses, and I whistled to my dog, 
And I left his scabby station at the old jig-jog. 

I went to lUawarra where my brother's got a farm, 
He has to ask his landlord's leave before he lifts his 

arm ; 
The landlord owns the country side — man, woman, 

dog, and cat. 
They haven't the cheek to dare to speak without they 

touch their hat. 

It was shift, boys, shift, for there wasn't the slightest 

doubt 
Their little landlord god and I would soon have fallen 

out; 
Was I to touch my hat to him ? — was I his bloomin' 

dog? 
So I makes for up the country at the old jig-jog. 

But it's time that I was movin', I've a mighty way to 

go 
Till I drink artesian water from a thousand feet below; 
Till I meet the overlanders with the cattle comin' 

down. 
And I'U work a while till I make a pile, then have a 

spree in town. 



128 A BUSHMAN'S SONG 

So, it's shift, boys, shift, for there isn't the slighter 

doubt 
We've got to make a shift to the stations further oul 
The pack-horse runs behind us, for he follows like 

dog, 
And we cross a lot of country at the old jig-jog. 



HOW GILBERT DIED 

There's never a stone at the sleeper's head, 

There's never a fence beside, 

And the ■wandering stock on the grave may tread 

Unnoticed and undenied, 

But the smallest child on the "Watershed 

Can tell you how Gilbert died. 

For he rode at dusk, with his comrade Dunn 

To the hut at the Stockman's Ford, 

In the waning light of .the sinking sun 

They peered with a fierce accord. 

They were outlaws both — and on each man's head 

Was a thousand pounds reward. 

They had taken toll of the country round. 
And the troopers came behind 
With a black that tracked like a human hound 
In the scrub and the ranges blind : 

I' 129 



130 HOW OlLBBET DIED 

He could run the trail where a white man's eye 
No sign of a track could find. 

He had hunted them out of the One Tree Hill 

And over the Old Man Plain, 

But they wheeled their tracks with a wild beast's skill, 

And they made for the range again. 

Then away to the hut where their grandsire dwelt. 

They rode with a loosened rein. 

And their grandsire gave them a greeting bold: 

' Come in and rest in peace, 

' No safer place does the country hold — 

' With the night pursuit must cease, 

' And we'll drink success to the roving boys, 

' And to hell with the black police.' 

But they went to death when they entered there. 

In the hut at the Stockman's Ford, 

For their grandsire's words were as false as fair — 

They were doomed to the hangman's cord. 

He had sold them both to the black poKce 

For the sake of the big reward. 

In the depth of night there are forms that glide 
As stealthy as serpents creep. 



HOW GILBERT DIED 131 

And around the hut where the outlaws hide 
They plant in the shadows deep, 
And they wait till the first faint flush of dawn 
Shall waken their prey from sleep. 

But Gilbert wakes while the night is dark — 

A restless sleeper, aye. 

He has heard the sound of a sheep-dog's bark, 

And his horse's warning neigh, 

And he says to his mate, ' There are hawks abroad, 

' And it's time that we went away.' 

Their rifles stood at the stretcher head, 

Their bridles lay to hand, 

They wakened the old man out of his bed. 

When they heard the sharp command : 

' In the name of the Queen lay down your arms, 

' Now, Dunn and Gilbert, stand !' 

Then Gilbert reached for his rifle true 

That close at his hand he kept, 

He pointed it straight at the voice and drew. 

But never a flash outleapt. 

For the water ran from the rifle breach — 

It was drenched while the outlaws slept. 



132 HOW GILBERT DIED 

Then he dropped the piece with a bitter oath. 

And he turned to his comrade Dunn: 

' We are sold,' he said, ' we are dead men both, 

' But there may be a chance for one ; 

' I'll stop and I'll fight with the pistol here, 

' You take to your heels and run.' 

So Dunn crept out on his hands and knees 

In the dim, half -dawning light, 

And he made his way to a patch of trees, 

And vanished among the nighty 

And the trackers hunted his tracks all day. 

But they never could trace his flight. 

But Gilbert walked from the open door 

In a confident style and rash ; 

He heard at his side the rifles roar, 

And he heard the bullets crash. 

But he laughed as he lifted his pistothand. 

And he fired at the rifle flash. 

Then out of the shadows the troopers aimed 

At his voice and the pistol sound. 

With the rifle flashes the darkness flamed. 



HOW GILBERT DIED 133 

He staggered and spxiii around, 

And they riddled his body with rifle balls 

As it lay on the blood-soaked ground. 

There's never a stone at the sleeper's head 

There's never a fence beside, 

And the wandering stock on the grave may tread 

Unnoticed and undenied, 

But the smallest child on the Watershed 

<3an tell you how Gilbert died. 



THE FLYING GANG 

(a eaileoad song) 

I SERVED my time, in the days gone by, 

In the railway's clash and clang, 

And I worked my way to the end, and I 

Was the head of the ' Kying Gang.' 

'Twas a chosen band that was kept at hand 

In case of an urgent need, 

Was it south or north we were started forth 

And away at our utmost speed. 

If word reached town that a bridge was down, 

The imperious summons rang — 
' Come out with the pilot engiue sharp, 

And away with the flying gang.' 

Then a piercing scream and a rush of steam 
As the engine moved ahead. 
With a measured beat by the slum and street 
Of the busy town we fled, 



THE FLYING GANG 135 

By the uplands bright and the homesteads white, 
With the rush of the western gale, 
And the pilot swayed with the pace we made 
As she rocked on the ringing rail. 

And the country children clapped their hands 

As the engine's echoes rang, 

But their elders said : ' There is work ahead 

"When they send for the flying gang.' 

Then across the miles of the saltbush plain 

That gleamed with the morning dew, 

Where the grasses waved like the ripening grain 

The pilot engine flew, 

A fiery rush in the open bush 

Where the grade marks seemed to fly. 

And the order sped on the wires ahead. 

The pilot mvst go by. 

The Governor's special must stand aside, 

And the fast express go hang, 

Let your orders be that the line is free 

For the boys of the flying gang. 



SHEAEING AT CASTLEEEAGH 

The bell is set aringing, and the engine gives a toot, 
There's five and thirty shearers here are shearing for 

the loot, 
So stir yourselves, you penners-up and shove the 

sheep along, 
The musterers are fetching them a hundred thousand 

strong, 
And make your collie dogs speak up — what would the 

buyers say 
In London if the wool was late this year from Castle- 

reagh? 

The man that ' rung ' the Tubbo shed is not the ringer 

here, 
That stripling from the Cooma side can teach hiin 

how to shear. 
They trim away the ragged locks, and rip the cutter 

goes, 

136 



SHEARING AT CASTLEREAGH 137 

And leaves a track of snowy fleece from brisket to 

the nose ; 
It's lovely how they peel it off with never stop nor 

stay, 
They're racing for the ringer's place this year at Cas- 

tlereagh. 

The man that keeps the cutters sharp is growling in 

his cage, 
He's always in a hurry and he's always in a rage — 
' You clumsy -fisted mutton-heads you'd turn a fellow 

sick, 
' You pass yourselves as shearers, you were born to 

swing a pick. 
' Another broken cutter here, that's two you've broke 

to-day, 
' It's awful how such crawlers come to shear at Castle- 

reagh.' 

The youngsters picking up the fleece enjoy the merry 

din, 
They throw the classer up the fleece, he throws it to 

the bin ; 
The pressers standing by the rack are waiting for the 

wool, 



138 SHEARING AT CASTLEREAGH 

There's room for just a couple more, tiie press is nearly 

full; 
Now jump upon the lever, lads, and heave and heave 

away, 
Another bale of golden fleece is branded 'Castlereagh.' 



THE WIND'S MESSAGE 

There came a whisper down the Bland between the 
dawn and dark, 

Above the tossing of the pines, above the river's flow ; 

It stirred the boughs of giant gums and stalwart iron- 
bark; 

It drifted where the wild ducks played amid the 
swamps below ; 

It brought a breath of mountain air from off the hills 
of pine, 

A scent of eucalyptus trees in honey-laden bloom ; 

And drifting, drifting far away along the southern 
hue 

It caught from leaf and grass and fern a subtle 
strange perfume. 

It reached the toiling city folk, but few there were 

that heard — 
The rattle of their busy Ufe had choked the whisper 

down; 



140 THE WIND'S MESSAGE 

And some but caught a fresh-blown breeze with scent 
of pine that stirred 

A thought of blue hUls far away beyond the smoky 
town ; 

And others heard the whisper pass, but could not 
understand 

The magic of the breeze's breath that set their hearts 
aglow, 

Nor how the roving wind could bring across the Over- 
land 

A sound of voices silent now and songs of long ago. 

But some that heard the whisper clear were filled with 

vague unrest ; 
The breeze had brought its message home, they could 

not fixed abide ; 
Their fancies wandered all the day towards the blue 

hills' breast. 
Towards the sunny slopes that lie along the riverside. 
The mighty rolling western plains are very fair to see, 
Where waving to the passing breeze the silver myalls 

stand, 
But fairer are the giant hills, all rugged though they 

be, 
From which the two great rivers rise that run along 

the Bland. 



THE WIND'S MESSAGE 141 

Oh ! rocky range and rugged spur and river running 

clear, 
That swiags around the sudden bends with swirl of 

snow-white foam, 
Though we, your sons, are far away, we sometimes 

seem to hear 
The message that the breezes bring to call the 

wanderers home. 
The mountain peaks are white with snow that feeds a 

thousand rills. 
Along the river banks the maize grows tall on virgin 

land. 
And we shall live to see once more those sunny 

southern hills. 
And strike once more the bridle track that leads along 

the Bland. 



JOHNSON'S ANTIDOTE 

Down along the Snakebite River, where the over- 
landers camp, 

Where the serpents are in millions, all of the most 
deadly stamp ; 

Where the station-cook in terror, nearly every time 
he bakes, 

Mixes up among the doughboys half-ji-dozen poison- 
snakes : 

Where the wily free-selector walks in armour-plated 
pants. 

And defies the stings of scorpions, and the bites of 
bull-dog ants : 

Where the adder and the viper tear each other by the 
throat, 

There it was that William Johnson sought his snake- 
bite antidote. 

U2 



JOHNSON'S ANTIDOTE 143 

Johnson was a free-selector, and his brain went rather 

queer, 
For the constant sight of serpents filled him with a 

deadly fear ; 
So he tramped his free-selection, morning, afternoon, 

and night, 
Seeking for some great specific that would cure the 

serpent's bite. 
TUl King Billy, of the Mooki, chieftain of the flour- 
bag head. 
Told him, ' Spos'n snake bite pfeller, pfeller mostly 

drop down dead ; 
' Spos'n snake bite old goanna, then you watch a 

while you see, 
' Old goanna cure himself with eating little pfeller 

tree.' 
' That's the cure,' said William Johnson, ' point me 

out this plant sublime,' 
But King BiUy, feeling lazy, said he'd go another 

time. 
Thus it came to pass that Johnson, having got the 

tale by rote, 
Followed every sti-ay goanna, seeking for the antidote. 



144 JOHNSON'S ANTIDOTE 

Loafing once beside the river, while he thought his 

heart would break, 
There he saw a big goanna, fighting with a tiger- 
snake. 
In and out they rolled and wriggled, bit each other, 

heart and soul, 
Till the valiant old goanna swallowed his opponent 

whole. 
Breathless, Johnson sat and watched him, saw V»im 

struggle up the bank, 
Saw him nibbling at the branches of some bushes, 

green and rank ; 
Saw him, happy and contented, lick his Ups, as off he 

crept, 
While the bulging in his stomach showed where his 

opponent slept. 
Then a cheer of exultation burst aloud from Johnson's 

throat ; 
' Luck at last,' said he, * I've struck itl 'tis the famous 

antidote.' 

' Here it is, the Grand Elixir, greatest blessing ©▼er 

known, 
'Twenty thousand men in India die each year of 

snakes alone. 



JOHNSON'S ANTIDOTE 145 

' Think of all the foreign nations, negro, chow, and 

blackamoor, 
' Saved from sudden expiration, by my wondrous 

snakebite cure. 
' It will bring me fame and fortune ! In the happy 

days to be, 
' Men of every clime and nation will be round to gaze 

on me — 
' Scientific men in thousands, men of mark and men 

of note, 
' Rushing down the Mooki River, after Johnson's 

antidote. 
' It wiU cure delirivm tremens, when the patient's eye- 
balls stare 
' At imaginary spiders, snakes which really are not 

there. 
'When he thinks he sees them wriggle, when he 

thinks he sees them bloat, 
' It will cure him just to think of Johnson's Snakebite 

Antidote.' 

Then he rushed to the museum, found a scientific 

man — 
' Trot me out a deadly serpent, just the deadliest you 

can ; 



146 JOHNSON'S ANTIDOTE 

' I intend to let him bite me, all the risk I will endure, 
' Just to prove the sterKng value of my wondrous 

snakebite cure. 
' Even though an adder bit me, back to life again I'd 

float; 
' Snakes are out of date, I tell you, since I've found 

the antidote.' 



Said the scientific person, ' If you really want to die, 

' Go ahead — but, if you're doubtful, let your sheep- 
dog have a try. 

' Get a pair of dogs and try it, let the snake give both 
a nip ; 

' Give your dog the snakebite mixture, let the other 
fellow rip ; 

' If he dies and yours survives him, then it proves the 
thing is good. 

' Will you fetch your dog and try it ?' Johnson rather 
thought he would. 

So he went and fetched his canine, hauled him for- 
ward by the throat. 

' Stump, old man,' says he, ' we'U show them we've 
the genwine antidote.' 



JOHNSON'S ANTIDOTE 147 

Both the dogs were duly loaded with the poison- 
gland's contents ; 
Johnson gave his dog the mixture, then sat down to 

wait events. 
' Mark,' he said, ' in twenty minutes Stump'll be a- 

rushiiig round, 
' While the other wretched creature lies a corpse upon 

the ground.' 
But, alas for William Johnson ! ere they'd watched a 

half -hour's speU 
Stumpy was as dead as mutton, t'other dog was hve 

and well. 
And the scientific person hurried off with utmost 

speed. 
Tested Johnson's drug and found it was a deadly 

poison-\veed j 
Half a tumbler killed an emu, half a spoonful killed a 

goat. 
All the snakes on earth were harmless to that awful 

antidote. 



Down along the Mooki River, on the overlanders' 
camp, 



148 JOHNSON'S ANTIDOTE 

Where the serpents are in millions, all of the most 
deadly stamp, 

Wanders, daily, William Johnson, down among those 
poisonous hordes. 

Shooting every stray goanna, calls them ' black and 
yaller frauds.' 

And King BUly, of the Mooki, cadging for the cast- 
off coat. 

Somehow seems to dodge the subject of the snake-bite 
antidote. 



AMBITION AND ART 

AMBITION 

I am the maid of the lustrous eyes 

Of great fruition, 

Whom the sons of men that are over- wise 

Have called Ambition. 

And the world's success is the only goal 
I have within me ; 

The meanest man with the smallest soul 
May woo and win me. 

For the lust of power and the pride of place 
To all I proffer. 

Wilt thou take thy part in the crowded race 
For what I offer? 

The choice is thine, and the world is wide — 
Thy path is lonely. 

I may not lead and I may not guide — 
I urge thee only. 

U9 



150. AMBITION AND ART 

I am just a whip and a spur that smites 
To fierce endeavour. 

In the restless days and the sleepless nights 
I urge thee ever. 

Thou shalt wake from sleep with a startled cry, 

In fright upleaping 

At a rival's step as it passes by 

Whilst thou art sleeping. 

Honour and truth shall be overthrown 
In fierce desire ; 

Thou shalt use thy friend as a stepping-atons 
To mount thee higher. 

When the curtain falls on the sordid strife 
That seemed so splendid, 
Thou shalt look with pain on the wasted life 
That thou hast ended. 

Thou hast sold thy life for a guerdon small 
In fitful flashes ; 

There has been reward — but the end of aU 
Is dust and ashes. 

For the night has come and it brings to naught 
Thy projects cherished. 



AMBITION AND ART 151 

And thine epitaph shall in brass be wrought— 
" He Uved and perished." 

ART 

I wait for thee at the outer gate, 
My love, mine only ; 
Wherefore tarriest thou so late 
While I am lonely. 

Thou shalt seek my side with a footstep swift, 
In thee implanted 

Is the love of Art and the greatest gift 
That God has granted. 

And the world's concerns with its rights and wrongs 
Shall seem but small things — 
Poet or painter, a singer of songs, 
Thine art is all things. 

For the wine of life is a woman's love 
To keep beside thee ; 
But the love of Art is a thing above — 
A star to gui(Je thee. 



152 AMBITION AND ART 

As the years go by with thy love of Art 
All undiminished, 

Thou shalt end thy days with a quiet heart — 
Thy work is finished. 

So the painter fashions a picture strong 
That f adeth never, 

And the singer singeth a wond'rous song 
That lives for ever. 



THE DAYLIGHT IS DYING 

The daylight is dying 
' Away in the west, 

The wild birds are flying 
In silence to rest ; 
In leafage and frondage 
Where shadows are deep, 
They pass to its bondage — 
The kingdom of sleep. 
And' watched in their sleeping 
By stars in the height. 
They rest in your keeping. 
Oh, wonderful night. 

When night doth her glories 

Of starshine unfold, 

'Tis then that the stories 

Of bush-land are told. 

Unnumbered I hold them 

In memories bright, 

But who could unfold them, 

163 



154 THE DAYLIGHT IS DYING 

Or read them aright 1 
Beyond all denials 
The stars in their glories 
The breeze in the myalls 
Are part of these stories. 
The waving of grasses, 
The song of the river 
That sings as it passes 
For ever and ever, 
The hobble-chains rattle, 
The calling of birds, 
The lowing of cattle 
Must blend with the words. 
Without these, indeed, you 
Would find it ere long, 
As though T should read you 
The words of a song 
That lamely would linger 
When lacking the rune, 
The voice of the singer. 
The lilt of the tune. 

But, as one half-hearing 
An old-time refrain. 
With memory clearing. 



THE DAYLIGHT IS DYING 155 

Kecalls it again, 
These tales, roughly wrought of 
The bush and its ways, 
May call back a thought of 
The wandering days, 
And, blending with each 
In the mem'ries that throng, 
There haply shall reach 
You some echo of song. 



IN DEFENCE OF THE BUSH 

So you're back from up the country, Mister Towns- 
man, where you went, 

And you're cursing all the business in a bitter discon- 
tent ; 

Well, we grieve to disappoint you, and it makes us 
S£id to hear 

That it wasn't cool and shady — and there wasn't 
plenty beer, 

And the loony bullock snorted when you first came 
into view ; 

Well, you know it's not so often that he sees a swell 
like you ; 

And the roads were hot and dusty, and the plains 
were burnt and brown, 

And no doubt you're better suited drinking lemon- 
squash in town. 



IN DEFENCE Of THE BUSH 157 

Yet, perchance, if you should journey down the very 

track you went 
In a month or two at furthest you would wonder 

what it meant, 
Where the sunbaked earth was gasping like a creature 

in its pain 
You would find the grasses waving like a field of 

summer grain, 
And the miles of thirsty gutters blocked with sand 

and choked with mud, 
Yon would find them mighty rivers with a turbid, 

sweeping flood ; 
For the rain and drought and sunshine make no 

changes in the street^ 
In the sullen line of buildings and the ceaseless tramp 

of feet J 
But the bush hath moods and changes, as the seasons 

rise and fall, 
And the men who know the bush-land — they are loyal 

through it all. 

But yen found the bush was dismal and a land of no 

delight, 
Did you chance to hear a chorus in the shearers' huts 

at night 1 



158 m DEFENCE OF THE BUSH 

Did they ' rise up, William Riley ' by the csimp-fire's 

cheery blaze ? 
Did they rise him as we rose him in the good old 

droving days 1 
And the women of the homesteads and the men you 

chanced to meet — 
Were their faces sour and saddened like the ' feices 

in the street,' 
And the ' shy selector children '■ — were they better 

now or worse 
Than the little city urchins who would greet you with 

a curse ? 
Is not such a life much better than the squalid street 

and square 
Where the fallen women flaunt it in the fierce electric 

glare, 
Where the sempstress pUes her sewing tUl her eyes are 

sore and red 
In a filthy, dirty attic toiling on for daily bread 1 
Did you hear no sweeter voices in the music of the 

bush 
Than the roar of trams and 'buses, and the war- 
whoop of ' the push V 
Did the magpies rouse your slumbers with their carol 

sweet and strange t 



IN DEFENCE OF THE BUSH 159 

Did you hear the silver chiming of the bell-birds on 

the range ? 
But, perchance, the wild birds' music by your senses 

was despised, 
For you say you'll stay in townships till the bush is 

civilised. 
Would you make it a tea-garden and on Sundays have 

a band 
Where the ' blokes ' might take their ' donahs,' with a 

' public ' close at hand ? 
You had better stick to Sydney and make merry with 

the ' push,' 
For the bush will never suit you, and you'll never suit 

the bush. 



LAST WEEK 

Oh, the new-chum went to the back block run. 
But he should have gone there last week. 
He tramped ten miles with a loaded gun, 
But of turkey or duck he saw never a one, 
For he should have been there last week, 

They said, 
There were flocks of 'em there last week. 

He wended his way to a waterfall. 

And he should have gone there last week. 

He carried a camera, legs and all. 

But the day was hot, and the stream was small, 

For he should have gone there last week, 

They said. 
They drowned a man there last week. 

He went for a drive, and he made a staa-t, 
Which should have been made last week, 
For the old horse died of a broken heart ; 

160 



LAST WEEK 161 

So he footed it home and he dragged the cart — 
But the horse was all right last week, 

They said. 
He trotted a match last week. 

So he asked the bushies who came from far 
To visit the town last week, 
If they'd dine with him, and they said ' Hurrah !' 
But there wasn't a drop in the whisky jar — 
You should have been here last week. 

He said, 
I drank it all up last week I 



THOSE NAMES 

The shearers sat in ihe firelight, hearty and hale and 
strong, 

After the hard day's shearing, passing the joke along: 

The ' ringer ' that shore a hundred, as they never 
were shorn before. 

And the novice who, toiling bravely, had tommy- 
hawked half a score, 

The tarboy, the cook, and the slushy, the sweeper 
that swept the board. 

The picker-up, and the penner, with the rest of the 
shearing horde. 

There were men from the inland stations where the 
skies like a furnace glow, 

And men from the Snowy River, the land of the frozen 
snow ; 

There were swarthy Queensland drovers who reck- 
oned all land by miles. 



THOSE NAMES 163 

And farmers' sons from the Murray, where many a 

vineyard, smiles. 
They started at telling stories when they wearied of 

cards and games, 
And to give these stories a flavour they threw ia some 

local names, 
And a man from the bleak Monaro, away on the 

tableland. 
He fixed his eyes on the ceiling, and he started to 

play his hand. 

He told them of Adjintoothbong, where the pioe-clad 

mountains freeze, 
And the weight of the snow in summer breaks 

branches off the trees. 
And, as he warmed to the business, he let them have 

it strong — 
Nimitybelle, Conargo, Wheeo, Bongongolong ; 
He lingered over them fondly, because they recalled 

to mind 
A thought of the old bush homestead, and the girl 

that he left behind. 
Then the shearers all sat silent till a man in the 

comer rose ; 
Said he, ' I've travelled a-plenty but never heard 

na,mes like those. 



164 THOSE NAMES 

' Out in the western districts, out on the Castlereagh 
' Most of the names are easy: — short for a man to say. 

' You've heard of Mungrybambone and the Gunda- 

bluey pine, 
' Quobbotha, Girilambone, and Terramungamine, 
' Quambone, Eunonyhareenyha, Wee Waa, and 

Buntijo — ' 
But the rest of the shearers stopped him : ' For the 

sake of your jaw, go slow, 
' If you reckon those names are short ones out where 

such names prevail, 
' Just try and remember some long ones before you 

begin the tale.' 
And the man from the western district, though never 

a word he said, 
Just winked with his dexter eyehd, and then he 

retired to bed. 



A BUSH CHRISTENING 

On the outer Barcoo where the churches are few, 
And men of religion are scanty, 
On a road never cross'd 'cept by folk that are lost. 
One Michael Magee had a shanty. 

Now this Mike was the dad of a ten year old lad. 
Plump, healthy, and stoutly conditioned ; 
He was strong as the best, but poor Mike had no rest 
For the youngster had never been christened. 

And his wife used to cry, ' If the darlin' should die 
' Saint Peter would not recognise him.' 
But by luck he survived till a preacher arrived. 
Who agreed straightaway to baptise him. 

Now the artful young rogue, while they held their 

collogue. 
With his ear to the keyhole was listenin', 

165 



166 A BUSH CHRISTENING 

And he muttered in fright while his features turned 

white, 
' What the divil and all is this christenin' V 

He was none of your dolts, he had seen them brand 

colts, 
And it seemed to his small understanding, 
If the man in the frock made him one of the flock, 
It must mean something very like branding. 

So away with a rush he set off for the bush. 

While the tears in his eyelids they glistened — 

' 'Tis outrageous,' says he, ' to brand youngsters Hke 

me, 
' I'll be dashed if I'U stop to be christened t' 

Like a young native dog he ran into a log, 

And his father with language uncivil, 

Never heeding the ' praste ' cried aloud in his haste, 

' Come out and be christened, you divil !' 

But he lay there as snug as a bug in a rug. 
And his parents in vain might reprove him. 
Till his reverence spoke (he was fond of a joke) 
' I've a notion,' says he, ' that'll move him.' 



A BUSH CHRISTENING 167 

' Poke a stick up the log, give the spalpeen a prog ; 
' Poke him aisy^-don't hurt him or maim him, 
' 'lis not long that he'll stand, I've the water at hand, 
' As he rushes out this end I'll name him. 

' Here he comes, and for shame ! ye've forgotten the 

name — 
' Is it Patsy or Michael or Dinnis '(' 
Here the youngster ran out, and the priest gave a 

shout — 
' Take your chance, anyhow, wid ' Maginnis ' !' 

As the howling young cub ran away to the scrub 
Where he knew that pursuit would be risky, 
The priest, as he fled, flung a flask at his head 
That was labelled ' Maginnis's Whisky !' 

And Maginnis Magee has been made a J.P., 
And the one thing he. hates more than sin is 
To be asked by the folk who have heard of the joke, 
How he came to be christened ' Maginnis ' ! 



HOW THE FAVOURITE BEAT US 

' Aye,' said the boozer, ' I tell you it's true, sir, 
' I once was a punter with plenty of pelf, 

• But gone is my glory, I'U tell you the story 

' How I stiffened my horse and got stiffened myself. 

' 'Twas a mare called the Cracker, 1 came down to 

back her, 
' But found she was favourite all of a rush, 
' The folk just did pour on to lay six to four on, 
' And several bookies were killed in the crush. 

• It seems old Tomato was stiff, though a starter ; 
' They reckoned him fit for the Caulfield to keep. 

• The Bloke and the Donah were scratched by their 

owner, 
' He only was offered three-fourths of the sweep. 

' We knew Salamander was slow as a gander, 
'The mare could have beat hiTn the length of the 
straight, 

168 



HOW THE FAVOURITE BEAT US 169 

' And old Manumission was out of condition, 

' And most of the others were running o£F weight. 

' No doubt someone ' blew it,' for everyone knew it, 
' The bets were all gone, and I muttered in spite 
' If I can't get a copper, by Jingo, I'll stop her, 
' Let the public fall in, it will serve the brutes right.' 

' I said to the jockey, ' Now, listen, my cocky, 
' You watch as you're cantering down by the stand, 
' I'll wait where that toff is and give you the office, 
' You're only to win if I lift up my hand.' 

' I then tried to back her — ' What price is the 

Cracker ?' 
' Our books are all full, sir,' each bookie did swear ; 
' My mind, then, I made up, my fortune I played up 
' I bet every shilling against my own mare. 

' I strolled to the gateway, the mare in the straight- 
way 
' "Was shifting and dancing, and pawing the ground, 
' The boy saw rne enter and wheeled for his canter, 
' When a darned great mosquito came buzzing around. 



170 HOW THE FAVOURITE BEAT US 

' They breed 'em at Hexham, it's risky to vex 'em, 

' They suck a man dry at a sitting, no doubt, 

' But just as the mare passed, he fluttered my hair 

past, 
' I lifted my hand, and I flattened him out. 

' I was stunned when they started, the mare simply 

darted 
' Away to the front when the flag was let fall, 
' For none there could match her, and none tried to 

catch her — 
' She finished a furlong in front of them all. 

' You bet that I went for the boy, whom I sent for 
' The moment he weighed and came out of the stand — 
' Who paid you to win it ? Come, own up this minute.' 
' Lord love yer,' said he, ' why you lifted your hand.' 

' 'Twas true, by St. Peter, that cursed ' muskeeter ' 

' Had broke me so broke that T hadn't a brown, 

' And you'll find the best course is when dealing with 

horses 
' To win when you're able, and keep your hands dovm.' 



THE GREAT CALAMITY 

MacFicrce'un came to Whiskeyhurst 

When summer days were hot, 

And bided there wi' Jock McThirst, 

A brawny brother Scot. 

Gude Faith ! They made the whisky fly, 

Like Highland chieftains true, 

And when they'd drunk the beaker dry 

They sang ' We are nae fou !' 

' There is nae folk Hke oor ain folk, 
'Sae gallant and sae true.' 
They sang the only Scottish joke 
Which is, ' We are nae fou.' 

Said bold McThirst, ' Let Saxons jaw 

' Aboot their great concerns, 

' But bonny Scotland beats them a', 

' The land o' cakes and Burns, 

' The land o' partridge, deer, and grouse, 

171 



172 THE GREAT CALAMITY 

' Fill up your glass, T beg, 

' There's muckle whusky i' the house, 

' Forbye what's in the keg.' 

And here a hearty laugh he laughed, 
' Just come wi' me, I beg.' 
MacFierce'un saw with pleasure daft 
A fifty-gallon keg. 

' Losh, man, that's grand,' MacFierce'un cried, 

' Saw ever man the like, 

' Now, wi' the daylight, I maun ride 

' To meet a Southron tyke, 

' But I'll be back ere summer's gone, 

' So bide for me, I beg, 

' We'll make a grand assault upon 

' Yon deevU of a keg.' 



MacFierce'un rode to Whiskeyhurst, 

When summer days were gone. 

And there he met with Jock McThirst 

Was greetin' all alone. 

' McThirst what gars ye look sae blank, ? 

' Have all yer wits gane daft 1 



THE GREAT CALAMITY 173 

' Has that accursed Southron bank 
' Called up your overdraft ? 
' Is all your grass burnt up wi' drouth ? 
' Is wool and hides gone flat V 
McThirst replied, ' Gude friend, in truth, 
' 'Tis muckle waur than that.' 

' Has sair misfortune cursed your life 

' That you should weep sae free ? 

' Is harm upon your bonny wife, 

' The children at your knee ? 

' Is scaith upon your house and hame ?' 

McThirst upraised his head : 

' My bairns hae done the deed of shame — 

' 'Twere better they were dead. 

' To think my bonny infant son 
' Should do the deed o' guilt — 
' He let the whuskey spigot run, 
' And a' the whuskey's spilt ?' 



Upon them both these words did bring 
A solemn silence deep, 
Gude faith, it is a fearsome thing 
To see two strong men weep. 



COME-BY-CHAKOE 

As I pondered very weary o'er a volume long and 

dreary — 
For the plot was void of interest — 'twas the Postal 

Guide, in fact, 
There I learnt the true location, distance, size, and 

population 
Of each township, town, and village in the radius of 

the Act. 

And I learnt that Puckawidgee stands beside the 

Murrumbidgee, 
And that Booleroi and Bumble get their letters twice 

a year, 
Also that the post inspector, when he visited Collector, 
Closed the oiEce up instanter, and re-opened Dunga- 

lear. 



COME-BY-CHANCE 178 

But my languid mood forsook me, when I found a 

name that took me, 
Quite by chance I came across it — ' Come-by-Chance ' 

was what I read ; 
No location was assigned it, not a thing to help one 

find it, 
Just an N which stood for northward, and the rest 

was all unsaid. 

I shall leave my home, and forthward wander stoutly 

to the northward 
Till I come by chance across it, and I'll straightway 

settle down, 
For there can't be any hurry, nor the slightest cause 

for worry 
Where the telegraph don't reach you nor the railways 

run to town. 

And one's letters and exchanges come by chance 

across the ranges, 
Where a wiry young Australian leads a pack-horse 

once a week. 
And the good news grows by keeping, and you'i-Q 

spared the pain of weeping 
Over bad news when the mailman drops the letters in 

the creek. 



176 COME-BY-CHANCE 

But I fear, and more's the pity, that there's really no 

such city, 
For there's not a man can find it of the shrewdest folk 

I know, 
' Come-by-chance,' be sure it never means a land of 

fierce endeavour, 
It is just the careless country where the dreamers 

only go. 

Though we work and toil and hustle in our hfe of 

haste and bustle, 
All that makes our life worth living comes unstriven 

for and free ; 
Man may weary and importune, but the fickle goddess 

Fortune 
Deals him out his pain or pleasure careless what his 

worth may be. 

All the happy times entrancing, days of sport and 
nights of dancing, 

Moonlit rides and stolen kisses, pouting Hps and 
loving glance : 

When you think of these be certain you have looked 
behind the curtain. 

You have had the luck to linger just a while in 'Come- 
by-chance.' 



UNDER THE SHADOW OP KILEY'S HILL 

This is the place where they all were bred ; 
Some of the rafters are standing still ; 
Now they are scattered and lost and dead, 
Every one from the old nest fled, 
Out of the shadow of Kiley's Hill. 

Better it is that they ne'er came back — 
Changes and chances are quickly rung ; 
Now the old homestead is gone to rack. 
Green is the grass on the well-worn track 
Down by the gate where the roses clung. 

Gone is the garden they kept with care ; 
Left to decay at its own sweet will. 
Fruit trees and flower beds eaten bare, 
Cattle and sheep where the roses were, 
Under the shadow of Kiley's Hill. 

' n 177 



178 UNDER THE SHADOW OF KILEY'S HILL 

Where are the children that throve and grew 
In the old homestead in days gone by 1 
One is away on the far Barcoo 
Watching his cattle the long year through, 
Watching them starve in the droughts and die. 

One in the town where all cares are rife, 
Weary with troubles that cramp and kill. 
Fain would be done with the restless strife, 
Fain would go back to the old bush life, 
Back to the shadow of Riley's HUl. 

One is away on the roving quest, 

Seeking his share of the golden spoil, 

Out in the wastes of the trackless west. 

Wandering ever he gives the best 

Of his years and strength to the hopeless toil. 

What of the parents ! That unkept mound 
Shows where they slumber united still ; 
Rough is their grave, but they sleep as sound 
Out on the range as on holy ground. 
Under the shadow of Kiley's Hill. 



JIM CAREW 

Born of a thoroughbred English race, 
Well proportioned and closely knit, 
Neat of figure and handsome face, 
Always ready and always fit, 
Hard and wiry of limb and thew, 
That was the ne'er-do-well Jim Carew. 

One of the sons of the good old land- 
Many a year since his like was known; 
Never a game but he took command. 
Never a sport but he held his own ; 
Gained at his college a triple blue- 
Good as they make them was Jim Carew. 

Came to grief — was it card or horse 1 
Nobody asked and nobody cared ; 
Ship him away to the bush of course. 



179 



180 JIM CAREW 

Ne'er-do-well fellows are easily spared ; 
Only of women a tolerable few 
Sorrowed at parting with Jim Carew. 

Gentleman Jim on the cattle camp, 

Sitting his horse with an easy grace ; 

But the reckless living has left its stamp 

In the deep drawn Unes of that handsome face, 

And a harder look in those eyes of blue : 

Prompt at a quarrel is Jim Carew. 

Billy the Lasher was out for gore — 

Twelve-stone navvy with chest of hair, 

When he opened out with a hungry roar 

On a ten-stone man it was hardly fair ; 

But his wife was wise if his face she knew 

By the time you were done with hino, Jim Carew. 

Gentlemen Jim in the stockmen's hut 

Works with them, toils with them, side by side ; 

As to his past — well, his hps are shut. 

' Gentleman once,' say his mates with pride; 

And the wildest Cornstalk can ne'er outdo 

In feats of recklessness, Jim Carew. 



aiM CARBW 181 

What should he live for 1 A dull despair ! 
Drink is his master and drags him down, 
Water of Lethe that drowns all care. 
Gentleman Jim has a lot to drown, 
And he reigns as king with a drunken crew, 
Sinking to misery, Jim Carew. 

Such is the end of the ne'er-do-well — 
Jimmy the Boozer, all down at heel ; 
But he straightens up when he's asked to tell 
His name and race,^ and a flash of steel 
Still lightens up in those eyes of blue— 
' I am, or — no, I was — Jim Carew.' 



THE SWAGMAN'S REST 

Wb buried old Bob where the bloodwoods -wave 

At the foot of the Eaglehawk ; 

We fashioned a cross on the old man's grave, 

For fear that his ghost might walk ; 

We carved his name on a bloodwood tree, 

With the date of his sad decease, 

And in place of ' Died from effects of spree,' 

We wrote ' May he rest in peace.' 

For Bob was known on the Overland, 

A regular old bush wag, 

Tramping along in the dust and sand, 

Humping his well-worn swag. 

He would camp for days in the river-bed. 

And loiter and ' fish for whales.' 

' I'm into the swagman's yard,' he said, 

' And I never shall find the rails.' 

182 



THE SWAGMAN'S REST 183 

But he found the rails on that summer night 

For a better place — or worse, 

As we watched by turns in the flickering light 

With an old black gin for nurse. 

The breeze came in with the scent of pine, 

The riyer sounded clear, 

When a change came on, and we saw the sign 

That told us the end was near. 

But he spoke in a cultured voice and low — 
' ' I fancy they've ' sent the route ;' 
' I once was an army man, you know, 
' Though now I'm a drunken brute ; 
' But bury me out where the bloodwoods wave, 
' And if ever you're fairly stuck, 
' Just take and shovel me out of the grave 
' And, maybe, I'll bring you luck. 

' For I've always heard — ' hi^re his voice fell weak. 

His strength was well-nigh sped. 

He gasped and struggled and tried to speak, 

Then fell in a moment — dead. 

Thus ended a wasted Ufe and hard. 

Of energies misapplied — 

Old Bob was out of the ' swagman's yard ' 

And over the Great Divide. 



184 THE SWAGMAN'S REST 

The drought came down on the field and flock, 

And never a raindrop fell, 

Though the tortured moans of the starving stock 

Might soften a fiend from hell. 

And we thought of the hint that the swagman gave 

When he went to the Great Unseen — 

We shovelled the skeleton out of the grave 

To see what his hint might mean. 

We dug where the cross and the grave posts were. 

We shovelled away the mould, 

When sudden a vein of quartz lay bare 

All gleaming with yellow gold. 

'Twas a reef with never a fault nor baulk 

That ran from the range's crest. 

And the richest mine on the Eaglehawk 

Is known as ' The Swagman's Rest."